The Builder Magazine
December 1929 - Volume XV - Number 12
A Christmas Greeting
By Bro. W.J. Marshall, P.G.M., Montana
ONCE more the wheel of time has turned to that season of the year when the
Christian world pauses to remember and reverence Him who came to bring good
tidings of "Peace on earth, good will toward men."
On the date of a pagan festival, the Christian harks back to Bethlehem, to the birth
of Jesus, to the visit of the Magi, to the wonderful story that was told the
shepherds. For a day the world takes stock of its virtues and forgets its vices, to
honor by unselfish kindness Him who was of all men most unselfish and most
kind. Even the most inconsiderate and most hardened can feel the thrill of kindness
that goes around the world at the Christmas season and can wish to be and to live
as did the Great Example that God has given us.
Christmas was not celebrated during the first century of the Christian church.
During this period the death of notable persons was observed rather than their
birth. In the fourth century a feast was established in honor of the birth of the
Savior. Although the exact date of Christ's birth was not known, in the fifth century
the church ordered His birth celebrated perpetually on the date of the Roman feast
of the birth of Sol. Among the Celtic and Germanic tribes the winter solstice was
considered an important part of the year and they celebrated their chief festival of
Yule to commemorate the return of the "Burning Wheel." Although the holly, the
mistletoe and the Yule log had their original significance in paganism, yet in our
celebration of Christmas the occasion is one of Christianity.
We reverence the Child that was born in the manger to the eternal glory of
mankind. In the memory of that Child we seek to subdue that which is evil within
us and in memory of that day church bells ring and from thousands of pulpits
comes once more the beautiful story of the Son of God, who died that men might
live. It is a story that loses nothing as the years go by; it is the greatest thing that
the olden times have given to the fevered, frenzied present; it is the greatest
happening of all time.
The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of Christ, as does the lesson of His life find its
application in lightening the burdens of others. Now, of all seasons of the year, we
are prompted to remember others by kind thought, word and deed, especially those
who are less fortunate than ourselves. Let me remind you that it is living according
to the Golden Rule and performing every duty which characterize good men and
Masons. Let us endeavor to live more in harmony with the IDEAL whom God has
sent for our EXAMPLE.
— o —
Ernst and Falk
From the German of Glotthold Ephraim Lessing
Translated by BRO. B.A. EISENLOHR OHIO
(Concluded from November)
ERNST. At last they've gone! O these prattlers! And didn't you notice, or didn't
you want to notice, that the one with the wart on his chin - let his name be what it
will - is a Freemason? He threw so many hints.
FALK. I heard him well enough. I even noticed from his remarks something that
probably failed to strike you. He is one of those who, in Europe, are fighting for
ERNST. That wouldn't be the worst thing about him.
FALK. He has the whimsical idea that The Congress is a lodge; that, at last, there
is the place where the Freemasons, with armed hand, are establishing their realm.
ERNST. Are there even such dreamers?
FALK. It must be so.
ERNST. And from what do you gather this freakishness in him ?
FALK. From a trait which surely will be better known to you, some time.
ERNST. By Heavens! If I knew that I had deceived myself in the Freemasons so
FALK. Be without fear ! The freemason calmly awaits the rising of the sun, and
lets the lights bum as long as they will and can. To extinguish the lights, and then,
after they are extinguished, only to perceive that, after all, one has to relight the
stubs, or perhaps even put in other candles, that is not the affair of the Freemason
( 1 ).
ERNST. That's my thought, too. Whatever costs blood is surely not worth blood
( 2 ).
FALK. Fine! Now ask whatever you will. I shall have to answer you.
ERNST. Then there'll be no end to my questioning.
FALK. Only, you're unable to find the beginning.
ERNST. Did I understand you or did I not understand you when we were
intermpted. Did you contradict yourself or did you not contradict yourself? For
when you aid to me once that Freemasonry had always existed, I certainly
understood it to mean that not only its essence but also its present constitution
dates back to times immemorial.
FALK. Suppose that were the case for both ! In its essence Freemasonry is just as
old as human society. Both could not help but come into existence together. It
might be questioned whether organized human society is not merely an offspring
of Freemasonry. For even the flame in the focus is outflow from the sun.
ERNST. I see that somewhat faintly, too.
FALK. But, be it mother and daughter, or sister and sister, the destinies of both
have always been mutually interwoven. However human society fared, so fared
also, everywhere, freemasonry; and so also, inversely. It was always the surest
mark of a sound, muscular government when it permitted freemasonry to flourish
along with it; just as it still is the mark of a weak, timid state, when it will not
publicly tolerate what, after all, it must tolerate in secret, whether it desires to do so
ERNST. Which means Freemasonry.
FALK. Certainly. For at bottom it is based not upon formal organization, which
degenerates so easily into observance of routine civil ordinances, but it is based on
the feelings that sympathetic minds have in common.
ERNST. And who dares to enjoin them ?
FALK. It is true, notwithstanding, that always and everywhere Freemasonry had to
shape and fit itself to organized society, and the latter was always the stronger.
However varied in kind organized society has been, just so many forms of
Freemasonry, too, was constrained to assume and, naturally, each new form had its
new name. How can you believe that the name Freemasonry is probably older than
the prevailing mode of thought of the states, in exact conformity to which it was
ERNST. And what is this prevailing mode of thought ?
FALK. This is left for you to investigate. Let it be sufficient if I say to you that the
name Freemason, to indicate by it a member of our secret brotherhood, had never
been heard before the beginning of this current century. Before this time it does not
authentically appear in any printed book, and I'd like to see him who will show it to
me in even a written document that is older.
ERNST. That is to say, the German name.
FALK. No, no! Also the original, Freemason (3), as well as all translations
patterned after it, no matter in what language they may be.
ERNST. Surely not! Stop and think! In no printed book before the beginning of the
current century? In none?
FALK. In none.
ERNST. Nevertheless, I myself have
FALK. Is that so ? Did your eyes, too, get into them some of that dust which is still
being thrown about?
ERNST. But Surely, the passage in
FALL:. In the Londinopolis? (4) Isn't it ? - Dust !
ERNST. And the acts of Parliament under Henry VI? (5)
FALK. Dust !
ERNST. And the great privileges which Charles XI King of Sweden, granted the
Lodge of Gothenburg?
FALK. Dust !
ERNST. And Locke ?
FALK. What Locke ?
ERNST. The philosopher. His communication to Count Pembroke; his annotations
to an inquiry that was written by Henry VI with his own hand? (6)
FALK. That must be quite a new find. I don 't know it. - But again Henry VI? -
Dust ! And nothing but dust !
FALK. Never ! Never !
ERNST. Do you know a milder term for distortion of words, for forged
ERNST. And do you mean to say that, without being reproved, they could carry on
a thing like that, with the eyes of the world on them?
FALK. Why not? Of knowing ones there are far too few to oppose all coxcombry
the moment it is begun. Enough that it is not outlawed. Better it were, indeed, if no
silly foolery [Geckereien] at all were undertaken before the public. For the worst of
its kind, by the very fact that it is the worst and that no one takes the trouble to
oppose it, may attain the appearance of being a very serious, sacred matter, in the
course of time. Then, in a thousand years from now, it will be said: "Would they
have been permitted to write that and send it out into all the world if it had not
been true? These credible men were not contradicted then, and you want to
contradict them now?"
ERNST. O History! O History! What art thou?
FALK. Anderson's sorry rhapsody in which the history of architecture is
substituted for the history of the Order, this might still pass! For just one time and
for those times it might have been well enough. Besides, the hocus pocus
[Glaukelei] was so evident. But that they still continue to build on this boggy
ground, that they still want to maintain in print what they are ashamed to assert
against a serious-minded man by word of mouth, that they permit themselves to
commit a forgery (3) for the continuation of a prank that ought to have been
discontinued long ago, for which forgery, if a contemptible civil interest is
involved in it, the pillory (3) is imposed, that
ERNST. But what if it were true that more than a play upon words prevails here?
What if it were true that the secret of the Order had been especially preserved since
antiquity by the members of this homonymous craft ?
FALK. If it were true?
ERNST. And must it not be true ? If not, how would it come about that the Order
should take its symbols from just this craft? Just this one, and from no other?
FALK. The question is rather artful, I admit.
ERNST. And such a fact must surely have a cause ?
FALK. And it has one.
ERNST. And has one ? And has a cause other than the supposed one?
FALK. Quite another.
ERNST. Shall I guess, or may I ask ?
FALSE. If you had asked another question earlier, one that I couldn't help but
expect of you long since, your guessing wouldn't come very hard now.
ERNST. Another question that you couldn't help but expect of me ?
FALK. For, if I said to you that that which is Freemasonry hasn't always been
called Freemasonry, what was more natural and more immediate
ERNST. Than to ask, what else it was called? Surely! Well then, I'm asking it now.
FALK. You're asking, what Freemasonry was called before it was called
Freemasonry? - Massoney (7) -
ERNST. Well, yes ! Masonry (3) in English.
FALK. Not masonry (1 1) in English, but masony (1 1). Not derived from mason,
the builder, but from mase (8), the table, the festive board.
ERNST. Mase, the table ? In what language ?
FALK. In the language of the Anglo-Saxons (9). But not in this alone, also in the
language of the Goths and Franks, consequently an originally German word of
which various derivations are still in use or were, at least, until quite recently, such
as: Maskopie, Masleidig, Masgenosse (10). Even Masoney (11) was still in
frequent usage in Luther's time; only its good meaning had deteriorated somewhat.
ERNST. I know nothing about either its good or its deteriorated meaning.
FALK. But you surely know about the custom of our ancestors, of deliberating at
table even the weightiest matters ? Well then, tease, the table, and masoney, a
closed, intimate company at table. And you can easily conclude how a closed,
intimate company at table became a drinking bout.
ERNST. Wasn't it only recently that the word lodge almost suffered a similar fate?
FALK. But previous to the time when, in part, the masonies had degenerated thus,
and had been lowered thus in the estimation of the public, they were all the more
highly respected. No court in Germany, either small or great, that did not have its
masoney. The old songbooks and histories are witnesses to that. Separate
buildings, connected with the castles and palaces of the reigning lords, or that were
located in that neighborhood, took their names from them. In recent times we have
so many groundless interpretations of these names. And what need I to say to their
renown more, than that the Society of the Round Table was the first and oldest
"masoney" from which all others have descended ?
ERNST. The Round Table? That goes back into a very legendary antiquity.
FALK Let the story of King Arthur be as legendary as it will, the Round Table is
not that legendary.
ERNST. But Arthur is said to be the founder of it.
FALL. Not at all. Not even according to legend. Arthur, or his father, had taken it
over from the Anglo-Saxons, as the term "masoney" itself suggests. And what is
more self evident than that the Anglo-Saxons brought over to England no custom
which they did not leave behind in their native country? Also, it may be seen in a
number of German tribes of that time that the natural propensity to establish
smaller, intimate societies within the larger, civil society was peculiar to them.
ERNST. By this you mean - ?
FALK. All that I am now telling you cursorily, and perhaps not with the proper
precision, 1 bind myself to authenticate, black on white, the next time you and I are
in town among my books. Only now, hear me as one hears the first rumor of some
great event. It tickles rather than satisfies curiosity.
ERNST. Where did you stop ?
FALK. So "masoney" was a German custom which was transferred to England by
the Saxons. The scholars are not in agreement as to who were the Mase-Thanes (7)
among them. According to every appearance they were the nobles of the
"masoney," that struck its roots so deeply into this new soil, that it retained its
tenacious hold under all subsequent changes of government and, from time to time,
showed itself to be most gloriously prosperous. Especially the "masonies" of the *
* * of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries stood in very high repute. And it was
such a * * * "masoney" which had maintained itself right in the heart of London,
up to the end of the seventeenth century, in spite of the abrogation of the Order.
And here begins the time when, to be sure, the hints recorded in history are
deficient. But a carefully preserved tradition that has so many intrinsic tokens of
truth is ready to replace this deficiency.
ERNST. And what is it that prevents this tradition from being written down and
thereby being advanced to history ?
FALK. Prevents ? Nothing prevents it ! Rather does everything about it
recommend that this step be taken. At least I feel that I am authorized, and even
bound, no longer to make of it a secret that is to be kept from you and all who are
in the same position with you.
ERNST. Well then! You have roused my expectations to the extreme.
FALK. That * * * "masoney" then, which still existed in London at the end of the
last century, but in great secrecy, had its meeting house not far from Saint Paul's
Church, which was being rebuilt at that time. The architect of this second church of
the world was
ERNST. Christopher Wren
FALK. And you have named the author of all present day Masonry.
ERNST. He ?
FALK. In short, Wren, the architect of St. Paul's Church in whose neighborhood an
age-old "masoney" met, that goes back to time immemorial. Wren was a member
of this "masoney" which he attended all the more frequently during the thirty years
that the building of it continued.
ERNST. I am beginning to scent a misunderstanding.
FALK. It's nothing else! The English people had forgotten, had lost the true
meaning of the word "masoney." & "masoney" (3) that was located near such an
important structure, which the architect of this structure attended so diligently,
what could that be other than a Masonry (3), other than a society of men skilled in
building, with whom Wren is deliberating over the difficulties that present
ERNST. Natural enough !
FALSE. Such continued construction of such a building interested all London. To
get first hand reports about it, everybody that thought he had some knowledge of
building endeavored to gain admission to the supposed "Masonry" - and found it to
be a vain endeavor, finally - you know Christopher Wren, not merely by name, you
know what an imaginative, active head was his. Before that, he had assisted in
devising a plan for a Society of the Sciences, whose purpose it was to make
speculative truths more generally helpful, and more profitable to civil life.
Suddenly here occurred to him the counterpart of a society which, from the
practises of civil life might rise to speculation. "In the former," he thought, "there
would be investigated that is servicable among that which is true: and in the latter,
what is true among that which is serviceable. How would it be, if I made some of
the principles of the "masoney" exoteric? And suppose I conceal whatever can't be
made exoteric and hide it under the hieroglyphics and symbols of that craft ?
Everybody persists in thinking that the word "masoney" (3) signifies that very
thing (12). Suppose I expand the "masony" (3) to a "Free-Masonry" (3) in which
more people could take part?" Thus thought Wren, and Freemasonry came into
existence. Ernst ! What's wrong with you?
ERNST. 1 feel like one who has been blinded.
FALK. Do you begin to see some light?
ERNST. Some? Too much, all of a sudden.
FALK. Do you now understand
ERNST. I pray you, my friend, nothing more ! But don't you have business in town
FALL. Do you wish me there ?
ERNST. Wish? After you have promised-
FALK. Then I have business enough there. Once more ! Speaking from memory, I
probably have expressed myself too ambiguously, too unsatisfactorily about some
things. But among my books you shall see and understand. - The sun is setting.
You must go to town? Farewell !
ERNST. A different sun has risen for me. Farewell!
A sixth dialog among these friends is not to be patterned after these. But the
essential part of it is intended to be a critical annotation to the fifth dialog. At
present it is being withheld (13)
(1) A possible meaning for this is, that it is not the affair of the Freemason to
destroy a political status or relationship and then establish one that is the same in
kind or is similar to it. The Freemason permits the old order to continue, and
calmly awaits the rise of liberty. This interpretation is in harmony with Lessing's
(2) It is reported by Lessing's contemporaries that he owes this doctrine to
Benjamin Franklin. The latter is quoted as having said that liberty can be attained
only by virtue, and virtue only by reason; that with blood alone liberty cannot be
(3) The English word is here used by Lessing.
(4) Londinopolis, an historical Discourse or Perlustration of the City of London,
etc., by James Howel, Esq., was printed in London in 1657. A memorandum in
Lessong's miscellaneous notes states that he knew of Howel as a "scribbler," but
that he knows nothing of the book entitled Londinopolis by him. From p. 44 of this
work a friend quotes to Lessing, "The company of Masons, otherwise called
Freemasons, were used to be a loving brotherhood for many ages; yet were they
not regulated to society, till Henry IV. Their arms Sable, on a Chevron between
three castles argent, a pair of compasses of the first."
(5) Anderson, Book of Constitutions 1723, p. 33, et seq.
(6) That Locke wrote such annotations is not established, and is generally doubted
(7) Lessing spells it thus, but with the use of German letters. Both massoney and
Masony have been adapted by the translator from the original German of Lessing.
Naturally, therefore, neither is given either in the New Oxford Dictionary or in
Murray's. Grimm's German Dictionary defines Masonei as a group at table.
(8) Pronounced, approximately, as mahsaay.
(9) Base occurs in Anglo-Saxon in variant forms, the commonest being mese,
pronounced, probably, may say. There is an undoubted etymological connection
between the stem mas, or mes, and the modern English mess. Cf. messmate.
(10) These German words are obsolete now. In part, Lessing's etymology with
regard to them is undoubtedly wrong.
(11) German nouns are now capitalized, though Masleidig is not a noun.
(12) Another, authoritative, print of 1780 says here: "How would it be if I conceal
whatever can't be made exoteric, under the hieroglyphics and symbols of the same
craft, and expand the meaning of Masonry, as generally accepted now, into a
Freemasonry in which more people could take part?" The German of the other
translation above, is involved in language and seemingly contrary to good usage in
construction. In this place also the English words were used for "Masonry" and
(13) No trace of a sixth dialog has ever been found among Lessing's effects.
— o —
A Curious Russian Seal
Communicated by BRO. OSCAR LEE, Indiana
THE seal or charm which is here described was bequeathed to the present owner
by his uncle, John Long, who obtained it, by purchase, from a Russian. Nothing
further is known of its history. As many of those who have examined it have
independently been impressed by the apparently Masonic character of the design, it
may be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER, and it may be possible that
analogous designs may be in existence, and that from them more might be learned
as to the meaning and origin of the one here described.
The charm is an amethyst beautifully engraved in intaglio. The inscriptions are all
cut in reverse, to leave a correct impression when used as a seal on soft wax. The
smaller cut shows the exact size of the object. The outer rim or border being the
mounting, which is of silver, with a sort of crow's foot ornament engraved all
around it. The amethyst is a flat oval stone, flat on the obverse side, on which is the
design, and rounded on the reverse, being considerably thicker in the middle than
on the edge. This side is finished by being marked with lozenges or diamond
shaped quadrilateral figures, and it has been suggested by some who have
examined it that these might have been intended to represent the mosaic pavement
of the ground floor of the Temple.
As will be seen there is an inscription running three-quarters of the way round the
edge. This, as well as the others, is in the Russian language. Translated it reads:
"Remember your last hour. Never commit a sin. "
Within this inscription, at the top, is a group of objects of which the most
prominent is the two Tables of the Law, given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The Roman numerals, from one to ten engraved upon them stand for the Ten
Commandments. To the left, partly concealed, is an elaborately bound book, and to
the right a pastoral cross. As the design is undoubtedly of Russian origin, it may be
assumed that the book is intended for the Book of the Gospels, of which a copy,
ornately and richly bound, is always to be found on the altar of every Russian
These three objects are irradiated by rays proceeding from behind them and
arranged in lozenge shape. Below them is a winged seytile, an obvious symbol of
time. Over this is placed a square tablet, or rectangle, supporting the tables of the
law, and upon it is an inscription which may be translated "Everything is
threatened by Time."
Below this comes a very curious group of objects. A two handled chalice or vase,
from which springs a branch or plant, upon one of the shoots of which is
apparently represented what seems to be some kind of fruit, which may be
intended for an apple. Next to this is a clock face, the hands pointing to the hour of
nine. Then comes a square figure, containing two diagonal bars and a round boss in
the centre, the meaning and intention of which is very uncertain, and lastly a
lighted candle in a candlestick. Below these is a coffin, at the head of which is a
skull and cross bones. Upon the coffin is the inscription, "After Death the
The object immediately below the coffin does not plainly appear in the cut, which
is from an enlarged photograph of the seal itself, reversed to make the inscription
legible. In an impression of the seal it appears quite plainly as a line separating the
design from the scroll below, while there are three bosses or hemispherical
protuberances, one placed at each of the three visible comers of the coffin.
Whether this is merely ornamental or not is not clear. Perhaps more knowledge of
Russian funeral usages and customs might explain them.
Below this line is a scroll upon which appears the word or name, Perstall, while
between it and the line, and partly superposed upon each, is the Greek letter, Phi.
The translation of the inscriptions were made by the National Geographic Society,
to whom the owner sent photographs of the seal. It was suggested by them that the
word Perstall was either the name of a place, or possibly of the original owner. But
this is only a guess, unless it should be found that such a name actually exists. It
was also suggested that the Greek letter stood for Philosophy. But this again is far
from certain, as many equally significant Greek words begin with this letter.
However, it may be accepted as possible.
The group of four objects above the coffin is very curious and their explanation
much to be desired. The lighted candle is fairly obvious in meaning - it very
probably represents human life. The clock is an emblem of time; but why is the
hour of nine so obtrusively emphasized? A clock face representing time in general,
would naturally have the hands placed symmetrically. While this is not absolutely
certain, it does seem as if some special significance is here hidden. The branch or
sprig in the vase might be taken (if we could be certain of the Masonic character of
the design) as being the Sprig of Acacia; but the leaves are obviously not Acacia
leaves, and the single fruit on the lower right hand shoot makes it still more certain
that it is not Acacia that is intended. As a matter of fact the general impression
given is that of a small rose bush, and in that case the round object might be
intended for a blossom. The symbolism of the rose is as old, if not older, than that
of the Acacia, though it is not of course, especially Masonic.
The whole group of emblems seems to be definitely Christian in character, but this
of course does not necessarily debar them from being also Masonic. It would be
interesting if more could be learned about the intention of the design, and whether
it was purely individual, or whether it has definite antecedents which would lead us
to some satisfactory interpretation.
— o —
Making Masonry Effective
By BRO. A. W. ALTENBERN. Kansas
ONE of the greatest tasks confronting the Craft today, if, indeed, it is not the very
greatest the fraternity has ever had to face, is that of making Masonry itself
effective in the life of the world. In order to avoid misunderstanding later on we
must, of course, at the very beginning, come to an agreement of what we mean by
"making Masonry effective." If we do not some of us are apt to be thinking of one
thing and the rest of us about something entirely different, much to the confusion
of us all. We need to understand, also, that a definition, to be really successful,
must be simple enough to be intelligible to the ordinary person and, at the same
time, it must avoid the mistake of a simple resort to synonymous terms, as
In the fewest possible words, then, as well as in the simplest we can hope to
command, " making Masonry effective " means putting Masonry, and all it stands
for, to work in the affairs of men, more especially in the affairs of Craftsmen
themselves. It may mean a great deal more, of course; but it most assuredly cannot
There may be a feeling of surprise on the part of some that any one should consider
it necessary to have to say anything at all on the subject. This attitude, I think, is
due to the supposition that because Masonry is old, and because lodges are found
almost everywhere, it has, for that very reason, been as effectively at work in the
world as we have a right to expect. But because a great deal has been laid and
written on the general subject of Masonry (no other Fraternity in all history having
produced such a body of literature) it does not follow, of necessity, that Masonry
has been as effective as it might be or as it ought to be. On the contrary, if Masonry
is to have any particular permanent value it must not be simply something to talk
about; something to provide an interesting field for philosophical speculation;
something, if you will, as so often happens in the case of religion, to believe; it
must be instead a dynamic power working not alone for the benefit of the Craft,
but for the uplift of humanity as well. This it might be, I am persuaded, with results
so conspicuous as to be observable wherever Masonry is known.
Masonry may be, as I suppose we all believe, the best as well as the greatest
fraternal organization in the world; but, unless its influence for good, its power for
ever-increasing betterment in the life of the world, goes out in constantly widening
circles - like those which go out from the point where a pebble is east into the
water - it might as well not exist at all as far as the welfare and the happiness of
humanity as a whole is concerned.
Too long, much to the detriment of the world as well as to the Fraternity, many of
our members have thought, and even taught, that Masonry was an organization to
belong to, instead of something to be done; or, in other words, a kind of a life to be
lived. It would seem, then, that before Masonry can be as effective in the world as
it is capable of being, and as it ought to be, there will have to be, on the part of the
Craft in general, an awakening to the realization that there is a vast difference
between these two conceptions of Masonry; that, in point of fact, they have little or
nothing in common.
If some one in your family, or in mine, were seriously ill and the physicians called
in only offered philosophical dissertations upon the antiquity, or the beauty, or the
symbolism of their system of treatment - and not only did nothing, but arrived at
no decision as to what to do - until the patient died, would we not be justified in
refusing to pay fees? Or even in bringing legal action for malpractice? Nay, more,
would it not be our duty to do so that others might be protected ?
The question for us to face seriously is this: Has not something of this sort, on a
scale I am afraid none of us fully appreciate, been going on for years in Masonry ?
Are there not literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who still think that
Masonry is simply a fraternal and social organization - something to belong to -
something, perhaps, to talk about in eloquent and flowery language? How many
think of it as something to be put to work effectively in the life of the world? Do
we not, as Masons, need to come to grips with the truth that until all that Masonry
is, and all that it stands for, is actually put to work in the world's life, we cannot
expect, and have no right to expect, that the world of the future will be very
different from that of the present?
Men, as Masons, differ widely as to their theories concerning Masonry, which, of
course, is simply what they say and think about this great subject. But if, somehow,
we can give the majority of the Craft, or at least those who will be the fraternal
leaders of the future, a real understanding - or, better still, a vision - of the vital
necessity for Masonic living, as opposed to the "lodge membership idea" that so
often in these days passes for Masonry, then the Fraternity will be able to take that
position and function for which it was designed by its founders.
Was not the Good Samaritan made the hero of one of the greatest of the parables
because he was one who practiced actual brotherhood, instead of one who regarded
it only as something to talk about ? And did not Jesus find it necessary to rebuke
even some of those who hailed him most loudly as the long expected Messiah,
though they unquestioningly accepted the whole body of his preaching, because
they so signally failed to see any particular necessity for putting what they had
accepted into practice? Evidently they believed Jesus was the one whose coming
had been foretold; but, in actual living, they made too wide circles around that
religion of brotherhood and of the Golden Rule which had been presented to them
by the Master.
Would not most of us, certainly far too many of us, be likewise found wanting if
we were to be weighed in the balance, Masonically, against these things ? Are we
not too content with being in good standing, or doing well whatever share of the
lodge work is committed to us? And are we not too little concerned with making
Masonry, from the higher point of view, really effective ? Do we not all need to
understand that Masonry has not been as effective in the life of the world as it
should be, largely because we have accepted the erroneous idea that, being
powerful and wealthy, it will for that reason prevail whether we do our share or not
? How can Masonry be really effective if we merely belong to lodges, attend the
meetings with some degree of regularity, build beautiful temples, help keep the
"degree mill" running smoothly, and read what we can of that abundance of
magazines and books which is available, or now and again lift up our voices to
sing the praise of speculative Masonry, while we ignore, or fail to see, that
Masonry can prevail only to the extent that we put on the armor with which it
equips us and go forth, both individually and collectively, to put its high teachings
to work in everyday life ?
We ought to begin to see, it seems to me, that Masonry will be just as effective in
the life of the world - and no more - as the extent to which the Masons of any time
put forth efforts to make it effective. The truth of the fatherhood of God, the
brotherhood of man, the supremacy of character, the immortality of the soul; these
great fundamental truths upon which all else in Masonry, no less than in religion,
depend; might, from the point of view of belief, be accepted by every Mason and
yet the world be no better off; for, unless these sublime truths are lived, as the great
and the good of the Fraternity have tried to live them, each in his own way,
Masonry cannot possibly be said to be effective in any true sense.
I do not wish, in any way, to give the impression that Masonry has been wholly
without its good effect. Far from it ! Masonry has done wonders ! It has been no
less successful than religion in developing its "saints," so to speak. It has done a
vast amount of benevolent and charitable work about which the world knows little.
In this country at any rate it has been the mighty champion of that bulwark of the
nation, the public school. And in other ways, too numerous to mention, it has
ministered to the wants of a needy world. But in spite of all this only a fool, or one
completely blind to the facts, could assert that Masonry has been as effective in the
world as it ought to have been and as it has the power to be. That Masonry, through
its long history, has, in many respects, had a truly remarkable effect upon the
world, there can be but little doubt. But think how much more effective it might
have been if only those who have had the honor of being made Masons had done
their full share to make it so ! Could not the finger of such an organization write
upon the walls of Time the sentence of doom for everything detrimental to the best
interests of humanity? Would it not make the zeal and enthusiasm of the old
crusaders appear, by comparison, as the pageantry of children at play in the
Masonry is another such giant of power with possibilities beyond the estimation of
most of us. It is not as effective as it might be because we have not yet learned how
to harness and use it excepting in almost primitive ways. We still labor under the
misapprehension that the geographical spread and the numerical strength of
Masonry, is all that is necessary to guarantee its complete success. We fail to see,
many of us, that Masonry must be operative today, as well as tomorrow; and that if
it isn't more and more put into practice now the chances are all against its being
any more effective at any future period than it is at present.
The world, it may be without any great portion of it knowing the actual reason, has
grown weary, so it would seem, of profession without performance. Masonry will
not be excepted from the judgment, therefore we must set ourselves seriously to
doing our part, that whatever of true Masonry we may have absorbed, may be put
into action in our daily life.
Some of us are right and some of us are wrong in our theories of Masonry, but all
of us are wrong as long as anything in or about organization is permitted to rank
higher than Masonic living. Masonry cannot be as effective as it might be, and
rightfully should be, as long as any considerable number of its members are
actually persuaded that membership in a great fraternal order is all there is to
A good attendance at the meetings, a well appointed and well kept lodge room, a
splendid exemplification of the different degrees, fine fellowship, enjoyable
"feeds"; these, and all else pertaining to Masonry, are but means to an end. And the
end itself ? The great responsibility of seeing that true Masonry becomes a life in
the individuals who have been privileged to pass the lodge portals !
There are many phrases of Masonry with which we may concern ourselves but let
us not make the mistake of putting our emphasis upon secondary considerations to
the neglect of the real purpose of Masonry, which is the gradual development of
the character of every individual Mason. The way, as I see it, to come somewhere
near making Masonry as effective in the life of the world, as, under ideal
conditions, it could be, is for each Mason to do his very best to build out of his
own growing life the growing temple of the living God.
— o —
More Light on the Two Pillars
By BRO. N.W.J. HAYDEN Associate Editor. Canada
ONE of the best reasons for Masonic Research is its attempt to trace back to their -
possible - origins, the legends and traditions of Freemasonry, and to show that facts
of history or science may have served as their starting point.
With the ever growing popularity of our Order during the last two centuries, its
ritual has been so changed and modified by Brethren who had more authority than
knowledge, more desire to remove strange words and usages than patience to
enquire into their actual suitability, that it is common experience today for
Brethren, visiting distant lodges, or foreign jurisdictions, to be unable to recognize
essential features through differences of presentation. This as been very noticeable
in the over-seas lodges of British Districts, inspection of which is often a very
difficult task, and even between the eastern and western Grand Lodges of the
United States. The only part of our heritage from operative times which has not
suffered in this manner, is that collection of material known as "The Old Charges",
which was handed on or senior members to apprentices, as part of their education
in freemasonry. These are not directly associated with our ritual but are comprised
within that body of data, vaguely recommended to us as the basis for some daily
advancement in Masonic Knowledge; consequently they have escaped the
attentions of the iconoclast and "improvement." To read, and perforce smile, over
their chronogical misfits will give the sympathetic mind a striking proof of the
advance in education by which we benefit, compared with the jealous cloistering of
that precious possession which prevailed prior to the Reformation. We can well
admire the efforts of our Operative ancestors, in spite such handicaps, to make
their youthful pupils competent, not only as Masons, but also in that intellectual
growth which distinguishes a MAN from the animals, and the little better, slothful,
minds characteristic of our pauper and "submerged" population.
Of the problems arising from statements made in these old Charges, which may be
said to have been solved, are the identity of "Peter Gower", of "Naymus Grecus",
of "Charles Martel, who was King of the Franks", and Prince Edwy", who
summoned the first General Assembly of the Craft, in order to improve their
working conditions, because he "lovyd well masonry and masons." But her
problems still await the patient probing of enquiring Brethren, and among these is
the statement that two great pillars were erected to serve as receptacles for such
scientific and historical knowledge as had been gathered up to that time, i.e.,
shortly before the Flood; and this is my present subject.
In the May and June issues of the Iowa Grand Lodge Bulletin of this year, Bro. C.
C. Hunt has assembled the references to these pillars, found in the Old Charges,
with his own useful comments thereon. We learn that their erection is variously
ascribed to the sons of Lamech, to those of Seth, and to Enoch, the only time-
feature common all three accounts being their antediluvian date.
The materials of which they were made is also variously stated to have been
marble, or brass, because these would not be affected by water, and of latres
(bricks) because these would be unharmed by fire. The Enoch legend tells us that
he made these pillars and engraved all his knowledge on them, after he had
completed the secret crypt in which he had hidden a plate bearing the Omnific
Name, because he had been warned by God of the coming catastrophe. In the Seth
and Lamech legends a similar reason is given for their being made, this being the
only use-feature common to all variants of this legend.
HOW THE CONFUSION AROSE
As the Old Charges passed from one generation to the next, and the Reformation
finally made a knowledge of the Bible possible to all classes, whether by their own
reading or hearing it read, these pillars became confused with those said to have
been erected by Hiram for the porch of Solomon's Temple. It is curious that, with
all the information about these latter given in Kings and Chronicles, no mention of
their being hollow is there made. This detail, with the thickness of the metal, is
given by Jeremiah (52 :21) but it appears that the opinion was long held by those
without metallurgical knowledge that these pillars were solid, the more so as we
are told (2 Kings 25 :16) that the amount of brass used was " without weight ", i. e.,
Anyhow, the facts of their being hollow and used to record knowledge caused
some "improver" to enlarge the ritual with the statement that "they were east
hollow the better to serve as safe repositories for the archives of Masonry, against
all conflagrations and inundations. " Just how these archives could be consulted,
once deposited, is nowhere explained; no doubt some other "improver" will come
into power, who will find that the insides of these pillars were provided with
winding stairs and recessed shelving. Why should a good story be left incomplete
for lack of needed details (1) ?
There is cause here for clear thinking and more exact language in the proposition
that a pillar may be a record of an event, or of a symposium of knowledge and be,
therefore, a receptacle or a repository thereof, without being, inevitably, hollow
and "containing" this matter in its interior. We should be more accurate in our
language than our unlettered ancestors and better able to express ourselves without
confusion, owing to the greater flexibility and complexity of our language. Our
minds receive impressions while life lasts, our reactions to these impressions make
the sum total of our consciousness, but do they thereby "contain" such data within
them or upon them. The daily paper contains news, that is a common expression,
but the news is on its surface, even as the accounts of Assyrian officials were
contained in the cuneiform letters scratched on the surface of the inch-thick clay
tablet discovered in the ruins of their cities.
This point, however, is hardly germane to my title; what I hope to show as
reasonable is the story that these pillars may have existed and served their stated
purpose. We are familiar with the use of pillars for records, important enough to be
required to endure long periods of time and great stress of circumstances, without
loss. Examples, which some readily to the mind are the two "Cleopatra's Needles,"
so-called, although that unscrupulous beauty had nothing to do with their
existence, since they were made by the orders of Rameses II, in the twelfth century
B. C. The evidential value of groups of pillars dates from the dimmest recesses of
the Stone Age, as in Stonhenge, to our modern War Memorials.
Confining ourselves, however, to monoliths and single, built-up, pillars it is an
accurate generalization that the information they preserve is always devoted to the
glorification of some individual or event, which has passed into history. Always
their purpose was of a memorial nature. They pointed to the past and were intended
to arouse admiration and emulation in those who might pass by, because of this
THE PURPOSE OF THE PILLARS
Quite on the contrary was the purpose of these two pillars mentioned in our legend.
Their builder, no matter who, looked only to the future, to the advantage of
generations unborn. A terrible catastrophe was impending, unavoidable, a sacrifice
unprecedented, demanded by the angry gods. What could be done to offset its
effects, to restore as quickly as might be the precious treasures of experience, of
hard-earned knowledge, that children to come might not be obliged to repeat the
same weary pilgrimage through the unknown; to bruise themselves against the
inflexibilities of natural laws. Out of this vision of wrath to come, one set of
saviours drew inspiration for a means to preserve the bodies of a chosen few, and
another became charged with the task of preserving a synthesis of knowledge that,
in a time equally certain to come the minds of a new race might benefit by that
which had been won by its forefathers and a reunion effected with the approval of
a benign Deity. All this, however, may be gathered, or inferred, from the Hebrew
narrative, what evidence in profane history can be adduced as a source of More
For many reasons I take the position that the Noachian Deluge is an echo of the
last of the catastrophes which overwhelmed the island- continent of Atlantis, of the
greatness of which civilization there is no need to speak here. By some cyclic law
many features of its statecraft and communal life became reproduced amongst the
Greeks, particularly the Athenians. The fact that the latter boasted of their
advanced knowledge, opinions and practices but were shown to have originated
none of them, is mentioned by Solon, who records for us the statement of his
priestly hosts at Sais, in Egypt, referring to records in their care of the great nation
buried beneath the western ocean that "You Greeks, with all your arts, are but
children wearing your parents' clothing" and, like modem ones, copying their
words and usages. There is psychological value for us in this, in its evidence of the
influence of memory, whether conscious or not.
GREEK TESTIMONY TO ATLANTIS
Another testimony, mentioned in a History of Atlantis by Lewis Spence, lies in the
few known fragments of the life and writings of the Greek philosopher Crantor,
who lived in the fourth century B.C., and is said to have been the first commentator
on Plato. What little remains have endured to our time were gathered by one of
those patient, laborious, scholars of Germany - Fr. Guil. Aug. Mullach, Ph.D.,
M.A., in the third volume of his Fragmenta Philosophomm Graecomm. In this,
several pages are filled with the biography and accomplishments of Crantor, who
must have been quite a genius in his time. Diogenes Laertius is quoted (IV 24) as
stating that he [Crantor] was bom in Solis, a town of Cilieia, in the 1 10th
Olympiad, wealthy and so mature-minded that, even as a youth, he debated with
the citizens of Athens on current problems. The Herr Doktor has Latinised the
quotation as follows: homo bene nummatus . . . longe omnibus ingenio et doctrina
praestans, . . . qui jam adolescens anteguam Athenas se conferred. The absence of
certain letters from our alphabet makes it difficult to transliterate accurately the
original Greek, which is also given by Mullach.
One long fragment deals with Crantor's mathematical studies of the properties of
the equilateral triangle, but I am concerned here with the single short paragraph in
which Crantor confirms, from his own knowledge, the statement made two
centuries before by Solon that in Egypt were preserved records of an advanced
type of civilization, claimed by the Athenians as peculiar to themselves, but which
had previously been attained, and exceeded, by the inhabitants of Atlantis. These
records are described as engraved pillars, the exact words of the Greek, put into
our Latin letters, being:
Marturousi de kai 'oi prophetai, phesi, ton Aiguption, en stelais tais eti sozomenais
tauta gegraphthai legontes (1).
This Mullach renders as:
Ea vero, inquit, testificantur Aegyptioram quoque vates, haec columnis, quae
adhuc exstant, inscripta esse dicentes.
The Greek may be thus translated into English:
But, he says; the prophets of the Egyptians testify, saying that these things have
been engraven on monuments that are still in existence.
What cause there may be for argument centers around the word Stelais and its
rendering into Columnis. Stela (e) has been adopted by modem archaeology to
indicate any inscribed stone, whether a detached slab, portion of a wall or other flat
surface; vertical block, grave-stone, or actual pillar of the ordinary type. On the
other hand, the word column has for the majority of people - certainly for operative
masons - a very definite form, which has not been changed in its passage to
To approximate as closely as possible the sources of our legend, I compared with
the Septuagint the eighteen references to the word Pillar given in Cmden's
Concordance; it seemed unnecessary to compare the plural form also. Of these, I
found half to be given in the feminine form Stele (long e) and half in the masculine
form Stulos; the former indicating a pillar used as a memorial or witness or record,
and the latter meaning a pillar used solely as a support; e. g. the pillar of smoke
(Judges, 20:24) the cloudy pillar (Exodus, 33 :9 and Nehemiah, 9 :12) are so
translated from Stulos or Stulon, but the five references to memorials in Genesis
(19:28, 28:18, 31:13, 31:51, 35:20) are all taken from Stele or Stelen. One seeming
inconsistency is the use of Stulon in 1 Kings 7:21 for both right and left pillars,
which were also given names, thus showing their use was more than, or different
from, that of a support.
Where, then, do we arrive on this excursion? The fact that Crantor closes his
statement with the sentence that some of his contemporaries considered the story
of Atlantis as merely "an idle tale" which had caused them to laugh at him, has no
bearing on the fact that in his own lifetime "quae adhue exstant," there were certain
pillars - how many we do not know - bearing on their surfaces records, not of some
king's conquests, but of the knowledge of a great nation. These must have been
considerable, if lot actually voluminous, to have made possible the criticisms by
their guardians of the childishly boastful Athenians.
That such pillars are unknown today has no bearing on the matter; who will
presume to say that the sands of Egypt have been rifled of all their hidden
treasures. The recovery of the tomb of Tut-Ankh- Amen gives us a reasonable
basis for hope that some future Carnarvgn will be driven by some blind but
effectual memory to search for and recover the relies of yet other forgotten
In the meantime we have the satisfaction of knowing that profane history can
supply earlier evidences to the basic truth of Masonic tradition than any available
through the post-exile compilers of the Old Testament, and through channels not
biased towards exaggerating the accomplishments of their predecessors.
A parallel to the discovery that the Coverdale and Matthew's Bible was responsible
for our form of the Hiramic Legend, or at least for one feature of it, is possibly
indicated here. In the various versions which preceded the Authorized or King
James translation I find that the word "hollow" is replaced in the Coverdale
version, and the Bishop's Bible by "rounded The Latin version, known as the
Vulgate, which was in universal use in the Western Church from about A.D. 400 to
the end of the Middle Ages (although some vernacular translations had been
made), renders the passage thus: intrinsecus saga est. This Wyeliffe translated as:
"Hollowe withynne." In the Geneva Bible (1590) this becomes "hollow," but the
Septuagint (Tischendorf 1856) gives only the thickness of the metal, and leaves the
hollowness to be inferred. The dates given refer to the editions consulted.
— o —
Matter and Energy
BY BRO. C. L. KASSON, Massachusetts
FOR thousands of years, human beings have recognized matter in the known
Universe. In late years, we have learned that energy is present in matter. Matter
and energy are inextricably interlocked so that it is impossible to conceive of
matter without energy.
The amount of energy in matter varies from small to great quantities just as matter
appears in a great many and various forms, conditions and positions. It may be
olid, liquid or gaseous. It may be metal, rock, coal, soil or the body of living
things. It may be water, oil or other Squid. It may be our atmosphere or other gas,
even to unknown attenuated gases beyond our known atmospheric belt.
Let us assume that an immortal traveller starting from the center of our earth would
find matter as follows: Magnetic metal of the greatest density, so great in fact as to
be beyond comprehension, then metals of lesser densities until near the surface,
metal rock and rock were found. Just under the surface fuels, coal and oil under
pressure would be found. Next, soil would be reached, then water and vegetation
together with animal and human life. The atmosphere would next be encountered
and travelling out through this the density would be found less and less until life as
we know it was impossible. This would occur at only a relatively short distance
from the earth's surface.
Further and further out, gaseous matter must be found until its density would
become so low and its attenuation great that our minds cannot comprehend such
So on, until the interstellar distances were covered by the immortal traveller. So
much for this picture of matter; now, let us turn to its energy.
Energy may be manifest as heat, motion, sound, light. Perhaps it is all one and the
same thing, but we as human beings perceive its different forms in matter through
our senses. We see light, hear sound, feel heat, and have knowledge of all these,
including electricity. Perhaps energy may be mind and even Spirit. We speak of
mental energy and spiritual energy. Thus, perhaps energy in its greatest sense
includes all forms from the lowest, heat, to the highest, Spirit.
What human has ever seen energy, or heard it, or felt it ! The senses perceive the
effects of it, but not what it is.
We, as human beings, possess energy, bodily, mentally and spiritually. We are also
made up of matter, as is well known. In the human this energy appears all the way
from heat to Spirit, just as in all Nature.
Besides matter, the human being possesses energy, until death takes place. If all
energy is the result of one force basically, then to understand the nature of it we
would have to understand why all things are as they are, even death itself. And it
may be possible, that if we were permitted to know the secret origin and exact
nature of energy perhaps we should all perish from this knowledge. To discover
the secret of energy must, in the very nature of it, spell death or immortality.
Now, the statement was made that all energy is one and the same thing, yet, we
know that energy can have different forms. For instance, electricity may be
alternating current or direct, yet it is electricity (energy) just the same. Let us, then,
examine the different forms of energy. Let us start with the assumption that there is
1 . Cosmic energy.
2. Sun or solar energy.
3. Earthly energy.
Right here let us make a further interesting assumption that cosmic energy is
analogous to Spirit, solar energy to mind, and earthly energy to body.
By cosmic energy is meant incomprehensible energy which lies back of this planet
and its life and which was responsible for its initiation. Call this, if you will,
Spiritual energy vouchsafed to us and our material world by God. This is said in
humility and reverence. As common mortals the explanation of this energy can be
found in the Bible in the first chapters of Genesis. As scientists, we know that all
material things must have beginnings. We must have faith to believe that energy
can exist, which is not perceivable to us mortals through our senses. Perhaps, as
immortals, if permitted to reach that goal, we shall recognize this energy. This
again is outlined in the Bible in the last chapters of Revelation.
Sun, or solar energy, is received on earth from the sun. We are all well aware of it
for it is the source of light and heat for our planet. It promotes the growth of all
living things, plant, animal and human. Without it, we should all perish and this
planet would grow cold.
If electric energy was passing through the air from a metallic sphere under an
exceedingly high electric stress, the air would be luminous. If the air was
attenuated and the stress exceedingly high, the sphere would appear as a ball of
fire. If one was at some distance from it in a denser atmosphere, they would thus
perceive the sphere and also might be surrounded by light because the energy
content per unit volume of the atmosphere at that point was constant and of the
right value. Perhaps our sun is analogous to this electrified metallic sphere.
Let us assume that solar energy is of the nature of electricity, in fact is electricity.
In other words, that the sun is broadcasting current at enormous pressures. If this
assumption is tenable, then it is conceivable that this electric energy travelling at a
speed of approximately 186,300 miles per second traverses the various material
media between the sun and the earth. This material being, as previously suggested,
an enormously attenuated gas is, of course, a conductor of electricity and one that
exists at a very low temperature.
While gases offer a very high resistance from the electrical standpoint, the low
temperature would, of course, reduce its resistance. In fact, its attenuation and
temperature would offset one another from the electrical standpoint. The electrical
energy after traversing the greater part of the distance from the sun to earth enters
what we know as the earth's atmospheric belt. This is simply a conducting gas, our
atmosphere, whose attenuation is much less and density higher than that of the
gases at great distances from the earth as previously pointed out.
The solar energy, electric energy, passing through our atmospheric belt renders it
luminous and is light as perceived by the human eye. This is due to the fact that
light is what the human eye perceives when the value of energy is great enough per
unit volume of the conducting medium. This energy is present in our atmosphere
and there is a definite balanced potential drop from a given point above the earth to
the ground below.
Since gases are free to move and since there is moisture in suspension in the lower
strata of our atmosphere, we should expect that the potential drops would be
variable from time to time and that the gradient perpendicular to the earth would
not be uniform. This, of course, explains the phenomena of lightning, not its
initiation but rather its action, once started. The potential drops in the atmosphere
are unbalanced and an excessive energy content is present in one spot whose
potential becomes great enough to break down the atmosphere at a given point.
The flash restores the balance and the result is heat in concentrated form, which
produces physical destruction.
The passage of solar energy through the atmosphere producing light as described
also must produce chemical action because it is unidirectional. Heat in small
quantities must also be produced. Now, as the solar energy reaches solid material
of much greater density no light is visible, but the effect is one of heat.
At this point it should be observed that energy, electric energy traversing matter,
must appear to us as light and heat. If the matter is gaseous, of high resistance, we
see light and feel no heat, but there must be some heat, however small. If the
matter is solid, of low resistance, we feel heat and see no light, but there must be
some light, however low in intensity.
Since the density increases and the resistance decreases toward the center of the
earth, we should expect to find greater heat there, and less light, not humanly
Life, plant, animal and human, exists as known to us only in a very small belt at
the earth's surface where the temperature and light promotes or rather the solar
electric energy sustains it. Now, human life is far above animal life and that in turn
above plant life. The lowest forms of life require mostly heat and little light from
our standpoint; thus, such life is found underground, buried, or in the water. Higher
forms of life require more light and less heat, according to our standpoint, and are
found on the surface of the earth. Finally, human life requires still more light and
less heat as we believe until we reach that immortal state prophesied in the Bible,
where it is all light and no heat.
Now, as long as we are mortal and most of us are firmly convinced of that through
pain and suffering, in other words, disease, we require heat. In all states of human
progress this is obtained from the sun or as a result of solar energy present and
Now, previously we spoke of earthly energy; this is locked in energy due to the
action of the sun on earthly matter for ages untold. This resulted through the death
of living things in forming fuels.
Primitive man was warmed by the sun's rays by day and by re- radiated heat from
the earth at night. At night he lay close to the earth thus unknowingly receiving this
heat. He learned to shelter himself from the direct sun by day because it hurt him.
Thus man learned, as pointed out in Genesis, to do things because of pain.
Primitive man perceived light and gave thanks for it to unknown Gods. He realized
that by its aid he could do things. Primitive man discovered fire and then built
shelters for himself and family. He provided for his family and took notice of other
primitive men. And so on through the ages to our complex civilization of today.
This civilization has been brought to its present material state by our increasing use
of energy, earthly energy. This energy is derived from fuel and our present age
might well be called the "Fuel Age." Through coal, oil and water power, we have
produced heat, light, electricity and caused it to serve us in a thousand ways.
But proud in our strength and wonderful scientific attainments, we forget today our
humble beginnings. That -we came up from the dust of the ground. That we are
here today through God's grace and infinite mercy Through cosmic energy he
created and inspires us. Through solar energy he guides us on and through earthly
energy sustains us.
— o —
Some Eighteenth Century Masonic Documents
By Bro. E.E. Murray, Montana
THE story of the discovery of the three documents herein described makes them of
interest aside from their age. They belong to Bro. James Morrow of Moore, Mont.
The two certificates he informs me were in the nature of demits, and were sent to
his great grandfather, together with a similar certificate relating to the blue lodge,
after his arrival in America.
Presumably they were used and treasured by the original owner, and after his death
probably kept with other papers. The family later settled in Ohio, and some years
ago Bro. Morrow's mother discovered the parchments in an old powder flask in the
attic of the old home. From her they came into the possession of her son. With the
certificates was also preserved a curious engraved notice of Lodge No. 52 of
Enquiry of R. W. Bro. H. E. Flavelle, Deputy Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge
of Ireland elicited the following details in regard to the Benburb Lodge.
Lodge 557 was working in Benburb from 1778 to 1825 when the warrant was
cancelled by order of the Grand Lodge.
In those days the Royal Arch and Knights Templar degrees were worked under a
Craft warrant and such "private lodge certificates" as they were then described
were commonly issued.
The returns made to Grand Lodge at that period were not always complete and I
cannot find the name of John Morrow registered as a member, there is however an
Alex Morrow registered in 1796. The signatures on the certificate are all entered in
G. L. books Jno. Kean and Robt. Neil in 1793, E. Morrison in 1782 and Jas.
McCleave in 1781.
This fully explains the reference on the certificates "In the Registry of Ireland."
Bro. Flavelle also pointed out that Irish lodges constantly worked the Royal Arch
and Knight Templar degrees with no further authority than their Craft Warrant.
And the same thing not infrequently occurred in America until Grand Chapters and
Commanderies were organized.
The certificates are written on parchment, and the seals are attached to ribbons
laced through slits cut in it. Whether there is any significance or not in the fact that
these slits are so arranged that the ribbon makes a number of narrow bars I do not
know, but it almost looks as if this might be the case seeing that for the Royal Arch
shows five bars, and that for the Knights Templars seven.
The following are transcripts of the two documents.
We the High Priest, Royal Arch Capt. Grand Master &c. &c. &c.... of the Grand
Chapter of Royal Arch Super Excellent Masons held under the sanction of Lodge
No. 557 in the Town of Benburb, Parish of Clonfech, County of Tyrone and on the
Registry of Ireland ... do hereby Certify . .. That the bearer our True and well
beloved Brother John Morrow past Master of said Lodge was by us initiated in the
most Sublime degree of a Royal Arch Super-Excellent Mason he having with due
Honour and justice to the Loyal community Justly supported the amazing Tryals of
Skill and Valour attending his admission and as such we recommend him to all
true and faithful Brothers round the Globe . . . Given under our hands and seal of
our Grand Chapter held in Benburb this 5th day of May 1792 .. . and of Royal
Arch Super Excellent Masonry 3292 Two . . .
JOHN KEAN, H.P.
EDW. MORRISON, S.G.W.
ROBT. NEIL, J.G.W.
JAS. McCLEAVE, G.S.Y.
In the Name of the most Holy Glorious and Undivided Trinity - Father Son and
We the Captain General &c. &c. &c. - of the General Assembly of Sir Knights
Templars and Knights of Malta Held under the sanction of Lodge No. 557 in the
Town of Benburb, Parish of Clonfech, County of Tyrone, and on the Registry of
Do hereby Certify that
the Bearer hereof our Trusty, true and well beloved Brother Sir John Morrow was
by us dubb'd a Knight of that Magnanimous Order of Sir Knights Templars, and of
Malta the true and faithful Soldier of Jesus Christ - he having with due honour and
fortitude, Justly supported the amazing Tryals of Skill and Valour attending his
admission - And as such we recommend him to all Brothers Sir Knights Templars
and Knights of Malta round the Globe.
Given under our hands and seal of our Grand Assembly at Benburb this 5th day of
and of Knights Templars 3792-
and of Knights of Malta 674 -
JOHN KEAN, Capt. Gent.
EDW. MORISON, S.G.W.
ROBT. NEIL, J.G.W.
JAS. McCLEAVE, G. Sy.
At first sight it sounds rather startling to read of a Grand Chapter of Royal Arch
Masons held under the sanction of a Craft Warrant (or Charter, as we would say in
America) and the uninstructed brother might wonder if such extraordinary
behavior had anything to do with the Grand Lodge of Ireland erasing the lodge
from its rolls. But the phrase did not have the same meaning then that it has today.
A communication from the well known Irish scholar, Bro. J. Heron Lepper, P. M.,
of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, elucidates the matter. He writes:
"Grand Chapter" was the title nearly always adopted by a lodge when conferring
the Royal Arch degree in Ireland. This may be the reason why the real Grand
Chapter, on its formation in 1 829, took the title of Supreme Grand Royal Arch
Chapter, which it still retains. There are facsimiles of other certificates in our
bicentenary History that use the same phrasing.
Nearly all the Irish lodges conferred the R. A. and K. T. degrees by what we may
term, I suppose, "immemorial right." I know of no case up to 1837 (and doubt if
there were any later) of the Grand Lodge cancelling a subordinate lodge for
conferring them. The seals are of course typical Irish designs. Finally, I have not
the least doubt that Lodge 557 was struck off in 1845 for non-payment of dues and
non-correspondence. It had not registered a member with Grand Lodge since 1833!
Underneath the seals impressed on sealing wax on the ribbons, are impressions
stamped in printer's ink or lamp black upon the parchment - the "smoke" seals,
generally used by Irish lodges. Probably the seal was blackened in the smoke of a
candle and then impressed on the paper or parchment. The specimens on these two
certificates have been rubbed, and are not easy to make out, but I have been able to
decipher them with a magnifying glass, and have made drawings of them which
are here reproduced, on a somewhat larger scale than the original. The seal on the
Craft certificate was very well defined, and of that a photograph has been taken. It
shows the same arm and hand holding a trowel that appears as the crest of the
Arms of the Operative Stone Masons, and is practically identical with the early
seal of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, as shown in the article on "Masonic Heraldry "
by Bro. R. V. Harris in THE Builder for August last. Other specimens are given by
Bros. Lepper and Crossle in their History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The Craft
certificate itself is in too damaged a condition to reproduce. The phraseology is
very similar to the others.
The third document is the Summons. This is printed from an engraved plate, and
spaces left to fill in the place of meeting, date, etc. It reads as follows:
You are desired to meet the Master and Brethren
of No. 52 ANCIENT York-Masons
at their Room in Arch Street on
Saturday next at 6 O'Clock in the evening.
Philadelphia. Anno Mundi 5791.
By Order of the Aster.
G. W. Bartran, Secretary. December 30.
Examination shows that the form was engraved for Lodge No. 2, as the figure 2 is
engraved but the figure 5 is written in.
It might naturally be assumed that the building depicted at the top left hand corner
was intended to represent that in which Lodge No. 2 met, if not also No. 52. In the
Addendum to the Yorston Edition of Gould's History of Freemasonry, vol. iv, p.
365, it is stated that on March 12, 1752, at a meeting of the Grand Lodge and the
First Lodge, a committee was appointed to procure a lot, and take measures to
erect a hall for the accommodation of the said lodges, Philadelphia Assembly, and
other uses. This was done and a building erected. In 1793 it was sold. The chapter
in question gives quite a little detail about the history of this building and also that
of Lodge No. 2. There might thus seem a strong likelihood that the building
depicted in the Summons was intended for the one referred to, as it would seem
natural to depict it here.
However, it would appear from the fact that Lodge No. 2 left a space in which to
write where their "Room" was located, that they aid not have a very permanent
meeting place, and Bro. Josiah H. Drummond, the author of the American
Addendum to Gould, goes on to relate that in 1797 there was a desire to erect a
building where all the lodges in Philadelphia could meet.
But unfortunately for any such theory this design seems to have been a stock one,
reproduced many times with slight changes, and used not only for a summons, but
also at times for certificates. Bro. Pepper says in regard to it, in the communication
There is in our book [The History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland] what is almost an
exact replica of the Philadelphia summons, but applied in the Irish instance to a
certificate. If I remember aright this "type" first appears in Philadelphia about
1759. Whether Ireland borrowed from thence, or the original design was copied
from an Ancient source, deponent knoweth not.
We have in this document further evidence that the Royal Arch Degree was
worked by Craft lodges in those days, as prominence is given in the design to the
Arch, Keystone, Triangle with the tetragrammaton, Tent and Bridge with Three
The presence of this bridge with three arches is interesting to students of the
degrees; it is the emblem of the Scots degree "Knight of the East or of the Sword."
It is the belief of many students that the Royal Arch Degree was formed from other
degrees that were being worked on the continent of Europe in the mid-eighteenth
century, particularly those of Scots Master and Knight of the East or of the Sword;
there are evidences of the latter degree in the present English ritual of the Royal
Arch as also in versions worked in the United States. The emblem here shown is
incomplete as it lacks the letters "L.D.P." and the banner depicting the man, the
lion, the ox and the eagle.
At the date of this document there was no Grand Chapter of R. A. Masons in
Pennsylvania. Gould says: "As in 1758 when the 'Ancients' established their first
lodge in America at Philadelphia the Royal Arch Degree was cultivated by them,
there can be little doubt that it was understood as a matter of course, that this
degree could be conferred under that warrant . . . Undoubtedly the degree was
occasionally conferred in the Pennsylvania Lodges in 1795. " Here we have
evidence of that fact.
I have included the discussion of this document here partly for the reason that it
will be of particular interest to the brethren in Philadelphia, and that some one of
them may be able to give us further information concerning Lodge 52.
— o —
Thomas William Coke, Earl of Leicester
Communicated by BRO. A. J. B. MILBORNE, Canada
AN Englishman who occupied a unique position in his generation was Thomas
William Coke, of Holkham, Norfolk. Bom in 1754, he lived during an interesting
and important period of English and American history, and left the impress of his
active and useful life on both sides of the Atlantic. He possessed a natural
attachment for the soil, and as a result of the intensive experimentation in all
phases of agricultural activity carried on by him on his Norfolk estate the farming
practice of both hemispheres was completely transformed. The Montreal
Agricultural Society elected him an Honorary Member, and James Lowell, the
father of the Ambassador, wrote to beg the same honour for the Massachusetts
Agricultural Society. The annual Sheep Shearings held at Holkham developed
from a meeting attended by his tenantry to an event of international importance, at
which were gathered agricultural experts from all over Europe.
He had a cordial dislike for politics, but, actuated by a high sense of duty,
represented his county in the House of Commons for upwards of half a century,
during which time the force of his example exercised a powerful influence upon
the political world of his day. Coke was the prime mover in several important
political crises, and though offered a peerage upon seven different occasions under
six distinct administrations he remained a commoner until 1837, when, upon the
accession of Queen Victoria, he was created Earl of Leicester.
From its very inception, Coke was opposed to the American War and it was he
who moved the motion in the House of Commons to recognise the Independence
of the American States. The vote followed a strenuous session of Parliament, and
was carried by a majority of one. It devolved upon Coke to carry the Address from
the House to George III, which he did as an English county gentleman, a privilege,
seldom, if ever exercised. But on this occasion Coke availed himself of it and
appeared unceremoniously before the King wearing ordinary country garb-leather
breeches, boots and spurs. It caused the greatest horror at Court, and neither the
matter nor the manner of the Address was palatable to the King.
"One can picture the strange scene," writes his biographer, "the discomfited King,
forced to agree to what meant failure of all his hopes, of all for which he had so
long and obstinately struggled; the excited members divided in opinion of the
momentous event in which they were assisting; and the man who headed them -
that youth of twenty-eight who alone, in that great body of men whom he
represented, showed himself oblivious to the petty details of Court etiquette to
everything, save the one thing which he felt that he had come in triumph to claim -
a belated act of justice to a long injured people."
Among Coke's many intimate friends was the Duke of Sussex, Grand Master of
the Grand Lodge of England, and it is not surprising therefore to find him an active
member of the Craft. He was a member of Union Lodge No. 52 at Norwich. The
chief event of his Masonic career was his Installation as Provincial Grand Master
of Norfolk on August 23rd, 1819.
The following is an account of the Installation ceremonies taken from A. M. W.
Stirling's volume Coke of Norfolk and his Friends:
"The Duke (of Sussex) arrived in Norwich the previous Sunday, and the eventful
day dawned brilliantly fine. Every street in Norwich was crowded with people, and
all the windows, gay with bunting, filled with spectators. At 10:30 a.m. the Duke
drove in an open carriage with Coke to the Assembly Rooms, from which daylight
- and all chances of prying eyes - had been previously excluded. The windows
were carefully closed and the whole place illuminated artificially, so that in the
warm August weather the heat must have been intolerable.
"Three hundred and twenty Brethren received the Duke at the entrance, but of what
took place behind those darkened windows and closed doors, no knowledge
penetrated to the outside world, even the record of those present is not known, for
the entry which should have preserved their names begins with 'H.R.H. The Duke
of Sussex, G.M., and Thos. Coke, Esqre., P.G.M.', after which the Provincial
Grand Secretary's courage must have failed him, for he left four blank pages on the
Minute Book with no further entries !
"The ceremony over at twelve o'clock the Brethren in full Masonic dress issued
forth into daylight, and formed in procession to march through the streets to the
Cathedral. Soldiers lined the way, and through their midst, in the brilliant sunshine,
wound the picturesque train. First marched the Brethren dressed in black, then
followed the trumpeters, next, men with drawn swords; next a long procession, gay
with banners; after which, borne by two stewards came the Banner of the
Provincial Grand Master, behind which Coke walked, and finally the Banner of the
Grand Master, behind which walked the Duke of Sussex. The poles of the banners
were gilt, the flags of white silk adorned by inscriptions in gold lettering, and as
the procession wound through the quaint old streets of Norwich, and towards the
gateway of the Cathedral, the enthusiasm of the spectators was great.
"Lady Jerningham, writing to Lady Bedingfield, from Holkham, August 25th
We all went to the Cathedral; it was a beautiful sight; thirty thousand people
waiting, all perfectly quiet and in good humor, and the procession from the
Assembly Rooms to the Cathedral, the Duke walking all the way on foot and
"As they reached the Erpingham Gate, the long procession formed up, one by one,
making a passage through which the Duke and Coke passed to the Western door of
the Cathedral, where they were met by the Dean and Canons, and conducted to the
Choir. The Cathedral was packed with ladies, who all rose as they entered while
the organ played 'God Save the King'. Upon a platform was a chair of purple velvet
for the Duke, while Coke sat with the Brethren, the banners ranged round them. A
special service followed, at the conclusion of which the Duke drove with Coke, in
the latter's barouche, through the streets of Norwich, while the Brethren returned in
procession to the Chapel Field House.
But the long tiring day was not yet over. At 5:30 a banquet was given in St.
Andrew's Hall, once a fine old Church, said by Bloomfield to have been built by
Sir Thomas Erpingham, the gallant old knight who gave the signal to start the
Battle of Agincourt. At the tables in the Hall the Brethren again appeared in
Masonic dress, and the side benches were reserved for the ladies who came to
watch the proceedings. The Duke presided, seated in another chair of purple velvet,
with Coke beside him. At seven o'clock the banquet ended, the tables removed, and
while this was being done, the Duke rose three times, and said to the guests at each
table, 'Brethren, The Grand Master and the Provincial Grand Master drink a cup of
Good Fellowship with you all! The None nobis was then sung, and many speeches
followed. The Duke pointed out how: 'The knowledge, the veneration of Coke's
name is not confined to this kingdom, but is echoed from one side of Europe to the
other. He is hailed and blessed wherever he goes'; and the hall rang with such
applause that used as Coke was to such demonstrations, it is recorded he appeared
unnerved at the enthusiasm displayed. In his brief reply, however, he made two
requests of the Duke; first, that certain farmers were anxious to take a glass of wine
with His Royal Highness; and secondly, that the Duke would enliven the
proceedings with a song. Both requests were granted, and, as the Duke loved the
sound of his own voice, the hall resounded cheerfully to his rendering of 'Precious
Goblet' - no doubt an appropriate choice.
"Afterwards the procession passed through Norwich by torchlight. On the
following Wednesday, August 25th, a Grand Chapter was held at Holkham, where
the Duke was staying, in order to appoint Coke Provincial Grand Superintendent of
Royal Arch Masons."
— o —
The Baal's Bridge Square
Communicated by BRO. PHILIP CROSSEE, Ireland
ONE of the most curious relics of the ancient Craft of Freemasonry is the so-called
Baal's Bridge square, now in the possession of Union Lodge, No. 13, Limerick. A
brief account of it, with a wood cut illustration appeared in the Freemason's
Quarterly Review, for August, 1 842, contributed by Bro. Furnell. There was
another article upon the same subject in the Freemason's Quarterly Magazine and
Review for 1850. The Square does not appear to have been published again till
1925, when a full size drawing made from a rubbing of the original appeared in our
History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. This was later reproduced in THE
BUILDER for May, 1927, from a copy of the drawing furnished by the late Bro.
Simpson. The accompanying illustration is from photographs taken by myself, at
Limerick, to which place I went for this express purpose. The illustration is the
same size as the square, and shows the various imperfections due to age and
corrosion. The outside length of the arms are a trifle over four and one-eighth
inches in length, seven-eighths in width, and the metal is less than one-sixteenth of
an inch thick.
In a paper by Bro. Henry 17. Berry read before Quatuor Coronati Lodge, published
in the Proceedings for 1905 [A.Q.C. vol. xviii, p. 18] another brief account of it is
given. This paper chiefly dealt with the interesting "Marencourf ' Cup. :For the
benefit of readers of THE BUILDER who may never have read of the romantic
incident connected with this, it will perhaps be not without interest to give an
outline of the story. Captain Marencourt was the commander of a French Privateer,
Le Furet (in English "The Ferret") which in November, 1812, captured the sloop
"Three Friends" of Youghal. Marencourt gave orders that she should be scuttled
and sunk; but discovering that her Master, James Campbell, was a Mason, he
countermanded the order, and released the vessel and her crew. In February
following Le Caret was herself captured by an English frigate, the "Modeste," and
Marencourt was made a prisoner. Campbell was a member of Union Lodge, No.
13, but there is no record remaining of any action being taken by it, though it is
most probable that something was done, for Ancient Limerick Lodge, No. 271,
passed a resolution eleven days after Marencourf s capture, thanking him for his
humanity and requesting Lodge No. 79 at Portsmouth to communicate this to him,
and also expressing a desire that the government might take some special steps in
the circumstances. A similar resolution was passed by Rising Sun Lodge, No. 952,
a week later, which in addition asked for the good offices of Lord Donoughmore,
Grand Master of Ireland. This was published in the Limerick and Dublin papers.
No information remains, what if anything came of these resolutions, but later still.
Lodge No. 13 ordered a cup or vase to be made to present to Capt. Marencourt, to
cost "100. This was to have been presented to him in May, but before the time
came he had been released and had returned to France. The cup was then sent to
the Grand Orient of France, but in the meantime Marencourt had gone to Africa,
where he died. The cup was therefore returned by the Grand Orient of France to
the donors, and has been preserved by the lodge ever since.
Having related the history of this memorial of fraternal sentiment, Bro. Berry
concluded his paper with an account of the relic now under consideration. This was
presented to Bro. Fumell by Bro. James Pain, Provincial Grand Architect. This was
the same Bro. Furnell who contributed the account to the Freemason's Quarterly
Review. In this he said that Bro. Pain had in 1830 been the contractor for the
rebuilding of Baal's [or Ball's] Bridge, and that it was in taking down the old
structure that the Square was discovered "on the English Town side." The square
was "under the foundation stone." It is a pity that more definite details of its place
of concealment were not preserved, and especially whether there was anything else
to mark the covering stone as a "foundation" stone, over and above the inference
that it was such because of the deposit of the square under it. The "English Town"
is on an island in the river Shannon, also known as King's Island. This is the old
town, dating back to the times of the Danish conquests in Ireland. Baal's Bridge
connected the island with the south bank of the river where the "Irish Town" later
grew up. The square was deposited in the eastern corner of the northern pier or
The illustration here given of the old bridge is taken from a drawing in the
possession of the lodge, which was probably made by some member of the Furnell
family. Unfortunately the ornamental border did not come out completely in the
photograph. Nevertheless it gives a good idea of the old bridge with its four arches,
and the houses and shops built on it. An alternative name for the structure seems to
have been Thye, or Tide Bridge; which seems to have been a suitable appellation,
as judging from the current represented as racing through the arches it must have
been as perilous to navigate as Old London Bridge.
Bro. Furnell stated the date on the square to be 1517. With this Bro. Berry
disagreed, reading it as 1507, and this earlier date has been generally accepted
since on his authority, as I did myself in making the drawing for our History. But
after a minute examination of the relic with a magnifying glass I am unable to
agree with him. In my opinion the third figure is certainly intended for the figure
one, as Bro. Furnell took it to be. It is formed in the old style, like our letter J. and
the curve at the bottom is what has undoubtedly led to its having been taken for a
partly defaced cipher.
The square is black with age and the inscription is not very deeply engraved. The
surface is also very much corroded. These imperfections appear very plainly in the
That the relic is genuine seems to be beyond reasonable doubt. The date of the
erection of the old bridge is not known. It is practically certain that there has
always been a bridge of some sort to the island since the year 1 174 at least, when
the city came into English hands. The deposit might have been made during some
repairs to the abutments if the bridge itself should be supposed older than the
There are numerous instances of foundation deposits in the mediaeval period, but
these are nearly all of the nature of foundation sacrifices. It was customary in
ancient Egypt to deposit specimens of the building material and models of the tools
and implements employed. This model square, for it is obviously nothing more, is
the only known instance of the kind in the British Isles, so far as is known. The
inscription, too, witnesses to a moral application of mason's working tools in a
most definite way. And this is also almost unparalleled, were it not for the
inscription on the ancient chest that belonged to the Steinmetzen of Hamberg, in
which speculative interpretations of the square, compass, level and gauge are
given, or rather alluded to 1, and which is also found on the "Master's Tablet" at
Baste in Switzerland.
The iconoclasm of Masonic scholarship, while it has been most valuable in the past
in clearing away many baseless imaginings, has possibly gone too far. In reality
there are so many indications of something more than trade usages and technical
secrets in the Masonic Fraternity that the impartial student is forced to accept them
even if they remain very difficult to interpret.
1. See Gould, History (Yorston Edition) Vol. i, p. 168.
Where a translation of this curious inscription is given in full.
R.J. MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
BOARD OF ASSOCIATE EDITORS
LOUIS BLOCK. Iowa
ROBERT I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
R.V. HARRIS, Canada
C.C HUNT, Iowa
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
A.L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
F.H. LITTLEFIELD, Missouri
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
J. HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
JESSE M. WHTED, California
E. E. THIEMEYER, Missouri
DAVID E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
"THE LAPSE OF TIME"
ONCE more we approach the end of the year. With this number the fifteenth
volume of THE BUILDER is completed. Those of us who are charged with the
responsibilities of editing and publishing it have had to meet many difficulties, but
so far they have been surmounted, and we are full of courage to carry on with those
of the new year.
The history of the Masonic periodical press is a tale of numberless wrecks. Scores
of magazines, good, bad and indifferent, have, during a hundred years or more,
shared the same fate. This year we have had to regret the cessation of a most
excellent journal, The Mountaineer Mason. Another reminder that Craft periodicals
are frail vessels, and sail on perilous waters.
In one respect THE Builder has been most fortunate. Its contributors are numerous,
and as interested in its welfare as the editors themselves. They have a right to be,
naturally, seeing that our magazine is the main link of communication between
members of the Research Society. Whatever success we can claim is due to them,
and so separating ourselves from the membership for the moment, and speaking as
the Society's agents and servants, the Editors offer their sincerest good wishes to
all readers of THE Builder, as is the kindly custom at this Christmas season; and
even if, owing to the date of publication, it is a little premature by a week or so, it
makes no difference to their sincerity, and as we hope to their effect. May this
Christmas be a happy one for all, and the new year bright and prosperous.
* * *
TO MAINTAIN SECRECY
EVERY member of the Craft knows - or at least he has heard - that Speculative
Masonry has a technique analogous to that of the Operative art. Among the five
processes, as we may call them, that the Speculative Craftsman must learn before
he can truly become a Master Mason, is one that seems, if not comparatively
unimportant, at least comparatively elementary. To subdue the passions is a
difficult thing - even those who have never tried admit it, and offer it as an excuse.
To act upon the square, and to keep a tongue of good report, always and under all
circumstances, is certainly far from easy, and needs definite and continued effort.
To practice charity in any real sense demands self-denial and sacrifice, again no
easy thing - but to maintain secrecy seems a trifling sort of thing to include among
things that require such strenuous endeavor towards self-improvement, it is such a
simple negative thing - it is not to do anything, but merely to refrain from doing -
But when we get thus far in analysis there comes a pause. Is refraining from doing
always easy - is not self-control one of the hardest things ? This particular
requirement was not thrown in to make weight, to make up the number five, or any
such inconsequential motive. Secrecy has always been one of the great Masonic
virtues - and like all the Masonic duties and requirements it is one of the great
social virtues too. Lodges were once regarded as schools of secrecy. Not secret
schools, but places where the maintenance of secrecy was taught - and learned. In
the phraseology of old English, Masons were "secret men," men who could keep
secrets. Is it so today - here in America?
It is to be feared that in this as in other things there has been a change, and not for
the better. Inlet us make the matter quite clear. These requirements of Speculative
Masonry are general, they are supposed to be practiced as a rule of life, and not
only in the lodge. The Secret of Masonry is safe enough, for no one who would
reveal it has yet learned it; or to put it another way, it cannot be communicated.
And to those to whom this is a dark saying, it can only be answered that it is part of
the mystery. The "official secrets" of Masonry are also safe enough. There is no
danger of even the most careless and indifferent member giving them away. It is
not such lapses as this that we are referring to. It is rather the fact that so many
Masons limit their obligations to secrecy to these formal mysteries.
It is sometimes said, even by chief rulers and official leaders of the Craft who
should know better, that a Mason should not lightly demand secrecy of another,
that he should not communicate trivial expressions of opinion or of feeling, or
relate things about other people and the like, on the square. It is suggested that the
definite demand by one Mason upon another to regard a communication as secret,
as covered by Masonic obligation, should never be made except in matters of grave
and serious concern. With this suggestion we must totally disagree. It is a
limitation of the scope of Masonic duty exactly analogous to those interpretations
of the law made by the Jewish Scribes which were so severely denounced by Jesus
of Nazareth, as making it "of none effect." And besides how shall we learn to run if
we never walk? If we cannot be secret in small things who will trust us in great?
We are none of us perfect, we all have moments of weakness, of carelessness. We
make unguarded statements, we express irritation, anger or suspicion. We say
unjust things on the spur of the moment. Suddenly we realize" it; and some idea
comes to us of the mischief, or the embarrassment to ourselves or others that may
ensue if what we have said is repeated. But we are speaking to a brother Mason,
we are on the square, and we remind him that it is to go no further. What is this but
the confidence that should exist between friends? And what is a friend for if we
cannot talk freely with him? Not only wisely but also foolishly? A real friend will
guard our folly even more carefully than things of greater import, for it is the
trifles, the little things that weigh most in every life. The great things indeed are
built upon and out of the little ones.
It would seem that those who express such opinions have rightly got the idea that
something is not as it should be, but have taken hold of it by the wrong end. It is
not that young Masons should be warned not to demand Masonic secrecy too
lightly (it is to be feared that many of them soon learn to their sorrow that it is not
wise) but that they should be told insistently, always to maintain secrecy whether
asked for or not, in all cases where not to do so might cause any harm; or better
still, in all cases where it wild not do any good.
The man who maintains secrecy is the man who can be trusted. It does not take
long for other people to find him out. But such men are not too common, and no
more frequent, sad to say, in the Craft than out of it. And yet few people do more
good in the world than those in whom others can confide, with whom they can
freely express their moods, tell their difficulties or merely "blow off steam."
The intellectual education of Masons is a desirable thing, undoubtedly, but it is of
little consequence beside their moral education. Freemasonry is easily summed up
- to subdue the passions and reform vices, to act honestly and uprightly, to bridle
the tongue from all evil speaking, to be charitable and benevolent, and not least, or
least difficult, to maintain secrecy. And how many members of the Fraternity in
America have learned to do these things ? Many more perhaps than might be
supposed, but it is too evident that many have never even begun.
* * *
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
IT has been said that the minority is generally in the right. A disturbing utterance,
if at all true, for any democratically governed community; for in all such it is
conventionally assumed that vox populi vox Dei est. This dictum is manifestly
untrue, for majorities too often do things that no sane observer could hold to be of
Divine ordinance or inspiration. Majority rule is a compromise. Minorities have to
win over the majority - if they can.
Majorities are made up of average, decent citizens, with average intelligence and
keenly interested in their own affairs. Events at a distance, future contingencies,
affect them little. For this reason they pay little attention to the warnings offered by
those who foresee the future result of present tendencies and developments. The
changes registered by history are great, but it is always difficult for us to realize the
present is also a time of change. Yet every observer knows that this age in which
we are living is a period of very rapid developments; and especially is it true that
the theory of individual freedom under democratic institutions is being challenged,
and the institutions themselves are everywhere being subjected to insidious attack.
For those who believe in freedom and passionately desire it for themselves the
present situation is disturbing. The slogan during the war was: "Make the world
safe for Democracy." Then it was the autocratic Prussian government which
seemed to be the arch-enemy. Prussianism was vanquished - but its spirit lives, and
is active in every country in the world. Despotism comes now to us under the
specious form of efficiency, and the standardization of the individual to make him
Since the eighteenth century it has been realized that freedom of speech and
freedom of the press, is necessary to the maintenance of free institutions. Our
governments have long ceased to attempt control - but it does not follow that the
freedom of the press is out of danger. Those who can remember from one incident
to another, and who put one and two together, must realize that the press in
America is subject in an increasing degree to a secret censorship and control, in the
interests of powerful groups which seek to manipulate public opinion to serve their
Since the war, and the great development of the technique of propaganda to further
war aims, it is probably that almost everyone is vaguely suspicious of the honesty
and candor of the newspapers of the country. Unfortunately secret controlling
influences are now reaching out to the weightier periodicals. Two years ago,
exactly, we made this same statement. At that time we had learned from an
unquestionable source that a whole issue of a highly respected and widely
circulated magazine was suppressed on account of a certain article. Only some half
dozen copies escaped destruction, one of which was in our informant's possession.
The article in question was objected to by the hierarchy of the Roman Church. That
it came to be known before publication was an additional disturbing feature.
Another, but more open instance has recently occurred, which is of an even more
alarming nature - to those who are able to see beyond the day after tomorrow.
Another magazine, which deals entirely with the political events and social
developments of the world, especially those of international interest, and which
professes to offer full and impartial information, and which promises its
subscribers to give them both sides of every controversy and subject of dispute or
debate, recently reproduced certain cartoons published in various European
journals on the subject of the recent concordat and treaty between Italy and the
Vatican. Some of these cartoons were favorable to the Church, some not. The
magazine kept faith with its subscribers and impartially gave both sides.
But one of those Romanist lay organizations which seem to fill the role of a militia
took the matter up, treating this republication as an offense and an attack on the
Roman Church. As a result the editor of the magazine in question publicly
apologized in the pages of an important Romanist organ, and promised, in effect,
never to publish anything in the future that might be distasteful to supersensitive
Of what was the editor of this periodical afraid? It is certain that he cannot have
been convinced that he had done anything unfair, or had misled anyone. He had
merely done what his magazine exists to do, or, rather, professes, to do, to present
both sides of every important world event. One thing is certain, those who have
hitherto depended upon this periodical for full and trustworthy information have
had their confidence rudely shaken. It might be well if the reaction of such readers
were such as to demonstrate that the Romanist group is not the only one worth
taking into account.
In the Extension Magazine for October there appeared an editorial article under the
heading "The Showdown." It has been considered of sufficient importance to have
been circulated by Romanist press agencies for reproduction elsewhere. It is an
impassioned and rhetorical "red-herring" drawn over the trail "to confuse the
scent." We have no concern with it except on one count. In it is an absurd
challenge offered to the non-Romanist citizens of the United States, to test legally
the civil status of members of the Church, in view of the recent recognition of the
Pope as a quasi-temporal sovereign. And in it Mr. Charles C. Marshall of New
York is represented as having denied the citizenship of members of the Roman
Church in America.
Now it is a common trick of controversy when unable to answer an opponent to
misrepresent him. All who have read Mr. Marshall's book, The Roman Catholic
(church in the Modern State, reviewed in THE Builder for May, 1928, know what
his position is. It is too clear and logical to be misapprehended by any intelligent
person, and Roman Catholic editors are not fools. The position is; first, that if
Romanist voters were in a majority they could lawfully and constitutionally secure
amendments to the Constitution; and secondly, that they would be in conscience
bound to do so in obedience to the principles of their church. The church holds that
a Roman Catholic ruler must acknowledge the church and put it in a preferred
position. In such a case as the one postulated, the Romanist majority would be the
constitutional ruler of the country.
It may seem a far fetched and fanciful suggestion that such a majority could ever
come into being - but is it? That there should be an actual majority of Roman
Catholic voters is hardly possible in less than a century or two, if ever. But that a
large and powerful group, with unlimited financial resources should control a
majority is not impossible in view of the developments in political technique for
the dividing of opponents, and misleading masses of uninterested and uninformed
voters. And control of the press of the country is a first step towards such a control
of the voters. Roman controversalists assert that such contingencies are too far in
the future to be worth considering, a "practical" argument that appeals to the
unthinking. But institutions are modified by imperceptible changes, and a very
small leak, neglected, will sink a ship.
Mr. Marshall has replied to the attack upon him, and at his request we are
publishing it in THE BUILDER, for he does not expect that the Extension
Magazine will do so. As will be seen he restates his position in the light of recent
We regret having to deal with this subject at all. The most fitting place for such
discussions is in the pages of periodicals of general circulation. But if they are no
longer free from outside control, there remains only "class journals" as agents of
free publicity. Fortunately THE BUILDER wears no one's muzzle. And this is a
subject of special concern to Freemasons, for it is only in a free country that
Freemasonry can thrive. Even if people generally refuse to see the peril inherent in
quite possible developments of the present situation there is no reason why we
should shut our eyes.
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Chronicle and Comment
A Review of Masonry the World Over
Unity and Universality of the Craft
The ideal of universality in Masonry is one that will not die, however hardly it may
be used under existing circumstances. The fact is that unless it is universal, or aims
at universality, it means little or nothing more than any particularistic society.
Every Mason who catches a glimpse of the soul of Freemasonry, its inner meaning
and secret, is bound to be fired by this ideal, and in consequence it is continually
rising from its grave - the allegory or parable might be continued further, but
enough has been said.
The Masonic Home Journal of Kentucky has seen the vision, but is content to
suggest the possibility of some kind of Confederation of American Grand Lodges,
something perhaps along the lines of the loose federation of the German Grand
Lodges, which, without lessening their sovereignty over their own lodges, enables
them to take common action in all matters affecting the German Craft as a whole.
This would seem to be the idea of Bro. H. H. Moore, the editor of the Journal,
when he hopes to see the Fraternity accommodating itself to the changing
conditions in the country today. He says:
The Grand Lodge of each state legislates as if there were no such thing as Masonry
outside its narrow borders. This should not be. The spirit of brotherly love and
Masonic comity forbids it. We would not touch the authority of any Grand Lodge
to the value of a hair. What we say is, confederate, counsel together, draw the
bonds of fraternal union closer and closer . . . you can at least let us have a
periodical conference of Confederated Grand Lodges for mutual counsel, advice
The Masonic Service Association was founded to fill such a function, but
unfortunately it has so far missed being the success that was hoped for. There is
also the annual Grand Masters Conference, but with Grand Masters changing every
year it has little chance for continuity of influence. Still, both these efforts of
rapprochement and co-ordination among the sovereign jurisdictions of the United
States prove that Bro. Moore is not far wrong in his diagnosis of the situation.
Something is wanting.
A Supreme Grand Lodge
The Masonic Tidings of Milwaukee is even more definitely in favor of co-
ordination of the Craft, although Bro. Fetterly very wisely does not say too much
about it, because he does not want the Tidings to "become known as 'bugs' on the
It is curious to recall how very nearly a Supreme Grand Lodge came into being in
1780. If Washington had not definitely refused to accept the office of Grand
Master of the United States in 1780 there is little doubt that he would have been
elected by the then existing Grand Lodges, and the machinery once organized and
in operation American Masonry would have had a Federal Government.
To discuss might-have-beens is largely speculation always, but sometimes the
dispassionate observer is inclined to wonder whether it may not have been better
that the project fell through for the sake of Universal Masonry the world over. It
may be that a Supreme Grand Lodge would have enhanced and emphasized the
defects of the American Craft instead of its merits and virtues. And a centralized
American Masonry would be almost too overwhelming today. So perhaps its
opponents, for reasons probably hidden from many of them, are right after all. It is
hard to say.
Aurora Lodge No. 30, Milwaukee, Wis.
The Masonic Tidings for October gives a brief account of this German- speaking
lodge, the only "foreign language" lodge in Wisconsin. We are told that:
In many ways Aurora Lodge, No. 30, is a marvelous lodge. During the war when
many Grand Lodges found it necessary to either interrupt the work of German-
speaking lodges or to direct them to work in English only, no question of such
action arose regarding Aurora. Its meetings continued regularly and no suspicion
was ever voiced as to the loyalty of its members.
The present writer has had the privilege of visiting this lodge and the praise
bestowed upon it by the Masonic Tidings is fully deserved. The word "impressive"
has been used so much in this connection that it has almost lost its significance.
The work of Aurora is electrifying. It is the acme of simplicity, sincerity and
dignity, and those who are made Masons by this lodge must receive an impression
that they can never possibly forget.
The ritual, according to the members of the lodge, is based on the old French work.
Or, as it is more often, but undoubtedly less accurately, described, it is the
"Scottish Rite" and not the "York rite" that is followed. Both terms are, of course,
misleading, unless it is realized that they are mere nicknames. There are three main
types of ritual followed in the lodges of the world, which may be geographically
designated as the American, the British and the European. Each type has many
subvarieties, but these varieties or variations are all recognizable at once as
belonging to one of these three main groups.
Foreign Language Lodges in California
It is difficult to understand the narrowness of view in regard to ritual matters
among so many Grand Lodge officials, for California is not the only offender. But
certain Grand Masters, Grand Lecturers and so on seem to wish to guard the ritual
virginity of their lodges much as the mistresses of a seminary for young ladies
looked after their charges in the mid- Victorian era. When the fact, the obvious fact,
is considered, that every Grand Lodge in the United States has its own sacred set of
formulas, it seems absurd to go through the performance of trying officially to
forbid anything in the subordinate lodges that might reveal the fact that the local
ritual was not universally employed. California has some "foreign language"
lodges, and the Grand Master ruled that they could not be allowed to visit an
English-speaking lodge and there confer degrees. Of course, there may have been
some other reason than this that does not appear, but in view of similar fatuities
elsewhere it is open to doubt.
The Masonic Banquet
A correspondent of the Orphan's Friend and Masonic Journal, of North Carolina,
relates how he recently visited a lodge in Richmond, Virginia, Dove Lodge, No.
5 1 . The character of the lodge, the enthusiasm and Masonic spirit made a great
impression on him, and the question naturally arose in his mind how it was, and for
what reason, it differed from so many other lodges throughout the country. He
answers the question thus:
Masonry in Richmond is a living, thriving, pulsing, force - or, at least, it seems to
be. Why? Richmond has its share of civic clubs, theaters and other places of
amusement. With its fine theaters, it offers every inducement to its people to be
amused. Then, how can we account for the fact that they are able to convene a
Lodge at 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon and keep several hundred men working
conferring degrees until low 12? I think that the answer is in the feet that they eat
together. Breaking bread and eating salt with your fellow man knits you a little
closer than merely meeting him and talking with him on subjects of interest to you
both. This was the custom of our ancient brethren, and I feel that if we adopt it, our
modern brethren will feel closer to us - we will be as one big family.
Civic clubs are held together by their custom of weekly luncheons. The members
do not go for the lunches - they can and do get better lunches at home - but they
attend on account of the friendly feeling they generate for their fellow man by
eating lunches with him, when one eats a meal with his fellow man, he feels just a
little closer to him than he did before. I think that our brothers of Virginia have
It is too easy to judge the Mason who seldom attends his lodge except when there
is a “feed.” He is very likely seeking something that he needs and desires, which he
cannot find in the business sessions and the operation of the degree mill. The
trouble is that lodge "feeds" are in this country too often that and nothing more.
American Masonry has suffered a great, though unrealized, loss in the disuse of the
ancient formalities of the Masonic Banquet.
Changing the Ritual
From the correspondence in the same volume of proceedings is the following
interesting comment on modifications in the ritual adopted by the Grand Chapter
Last year a resolution adopted by Grand Chapter set the seal of condemnation
against any innovation in the degrees, but the Grand High Priest this year thought
that the easiest way to stop rough practices was to change the Ritual, which met
with approbation. We do not see the necessity of changing a ritual, far better to
educate the membership. We will always believe that many more who came to us
after the war would have been interested and retained in our membership, if instead
of buffoonery, which could create at the best only amusement, at the worst disgust,
they had been impressed with the beautiful lessons of our degrees given to them as
they can be with solemnity and thought.
Actually the Grand Chapter of Florida has not devised a new ritual, but has merely
decided to adopt the ritual of the General Grand Chapter. There has been an
unfortunate tradition of horse play in the Chapter in America, both in the Past
Master's Degree, where a little is not out of place, and emphasizes, or may be made
to emphasize, an exceedingly important lesson. In the Royal Arch such levity is
absolutely out of place. But the dramatic form of the American ceremonies lends
itself to practices of this kind in a way that the rituals followed elsewhere make
Dual and Plural Membership.
The following from the Grand Lodge Bulletin of North Dakota shows that the
movement towards abolishing the needless restrictions on a Mason's freedom in
this regard is spreading more and more. We hope that North Dakota will again be
found among the more progressive of our jurisdictions:
This question has been prominently before American Grand Lodges the past year
or two. New York adopted dual membership a year ago. Wisconsin adopted plural
membership and Oregon dual membership last June. The question was up in
Michigan at the last session, but we understand the action was not completed.
Nearly all of the New England Grand Lodges allow dual membership, and it has
long been the custom in English and Canadian lodges to allow plural membership.
As we see the question, there ought not to be any good reason why any brother
who desired and was able to meet the expense should not be permitted to belong to
more than one lodge. It might make a little additional bookkeeping for the lodge
and the Grand Lodge secretaries, but that is no valid objection to the principle.
There are many Masons who desire to remain members of the Mother Lodge and
yet who would gladly affiliate with a lodge where they reside. Such was our ease
some years ago, but under present North Dakota Masonic law it could not be done.
The question is a live one and will come before the Grand Lodge before very long.
The Selection of Material
There was a timely and vigorous editorial article in a recent number of the
Colorado Square and Compass. It is pointed out that it is the business of every
member of the lodge to be sure that each applicant is worthy. Though how this
would be possible in a large lodge, with applications coming in by the dozen, it is
hard to see. Limitations of some kind would seem to be necessary first. But the
following is so pertinent to present conditions that it deserves quotation at length:
One of the many handicaps the Craft labors under today is its size. Our lodges are
too large. Every Master boasts of how many he raised during his year - not how
good the material was that he condescended to work upon. One of the first things
the average visitor asks of the first member he meets of the visited lodge is: "How
many members have you?" I've done it myself - and then thought "What an ass I
am!" What difference does it make to you or to me how large our particular lodge
is? Does it confer any particular favor or honor upon you or I because our lodge
has a hundred or a thousand members? What do numbers mean, anyway?
In conclusion the editor describes the subsidiary activities and arrangements of a
typical "large" lodge and comments as follows:
This array of "goodies" is not imaginary, but is culled from the lodge bulletin and
magazines of large lodges throughout the United States. Can you suggest any field
more inviting to the social climber, or the politician, the self seeker or the dollar-
chaser? It makes one wonder how a candidate can truthfully answer within the
landmarks, "what came you here to do?"
A Question About a Questionnaire
Quite apropos of the above is an account in the Masonic Chronicler of Chicago of
a questionnaire prepared by a certain lodge to be answered by would-be
candidates. It is too long to quote here in full, but it is somewhat on the same lines
as the searching inquisitions made in European lodges, only there the answers are
not written and considered by a committee, but are asked of the candidate in the
We quite agree with the Chronicler that if this particular set of questions were
answered by an applicant intelligently and sincerely that he " . . . would have
proven his qualifications for Masonry, even under more rigid conditions than
usually exist." Indeed, we would be inclined to put it stronger still.
However, it seems that a certain applicant resented the inquiry, and the matter was
brought to the attention of the Grand Master, who disapproved, and sought to
show the Master of the lodge the error of its ways. The Master, however, stuck to
his guns, and insisted that the lodge alone had a right to say whom it would elect,
and that so long as it did not transgress the specific enactments of the Grand Lodge
and the spirit of Masonic law in regard to the selection of candidates it was within
its rights to examine the qualifications of applicants in whatever way seemed best.
The position is unassailable. If applicants are not prepared to submit to
examination they can either give up their intention of becoming members of the
Craft, or seek a lodge, the requirements of which are more formal and less
searching. But there should be none such.
A Truly Masonic Lodge
It is Kennesaw, No. 33, of Marietta, Georgia. The Masonic Messenger tells us in a
recent issue how much it has accomplished for the children in the Masonic Home.
Says the Messenger:
It seemed that the brethren had about done all possible and -
"Now comes again Kennesaw Lodge!"
"The following motion was voted and carried: That the funds accruing from the
free-will offering which is made at each meeting of this Lodge be turned over to
the Treasurer of the Benevolence Committee at the close of each year.
"That the Benevolence Committee use this fund to assist some boy or girl from the
Masonic Home to complete their education or to secure a vocational training.
"That the Benevolence Committee use this money only to help the boy or girl who
is named by the Director of Masonic Welfare."
There can be no contribution to Humanity as permanent and as great as helping a
child to be what God intended it.
Once there was an old clergyman, wise in experience, who was asked by a young
colleague in charge of a dis-spirited and indifferent congregation how best he
could go to work to pay oft the indebtedness on his church. The elder's reply was:
"Preach Foreign Missions." The younger man asked how this could help. The
answer was: "If you can get your people interested in the needs of others your own
difficulties will solve themselves automatically." A lodge is in this respect like a
church, if it is not engaged or interested in some form of disinterested service it has
lost its reason for existence, and like any other disused machinery inevitably rusts
Troubles in the Eastern Star
Some years ago Pennsylvania Masons were enjoined from being or becoming
members of Eastern Star chapters. The grounds for the edict, given in general
terms, were said to be that the Order had been attempting to interfere in the affairs
of the lodges. In just what way was never publicly explained.
Recently the Missouri Freemason informed us of most unseemly proceedings and
actions in the Order in Missouri, which it seems will probably be ventilated in the
courts of law. Now we leam from an article by Bro. A.B. Green in the Masonic
Review of turmoil and bitter party strife in the Grand Chapter of New York. Just
why these things should be we do not know, but we have no doubt that the British
Grand Lodges will feel it is an added justification for the action taken by them to
prohibit any connection whatever between the female order and Freemasonry in
their respective jurisdictions.
German Grand Lodges Recognized by California
In the last issue of the Masonic Digest is a report of the Annual Communication of
the Grand Lodge of California, held at Los Angeles on October 8th. The
Committee on Policy and General Purposes recommended:
. . . recognition should be extended to four German Lodges. They are: The Mother
Grand Lodge of Frankfort-on-the-Main, the Royal York Grand Lodge of Berlin,
the Grand Lodge of Hamburg and the National Grand Lodge of All Freemasons of
Berlin. The Grand Lodge approved the report and extended the recognition.
The proper titles of German Grand Lodges are not easy to render idiomatically into
English, as they are formed quite differently from our own, owing largely it may
be that their jurisdictions are not territorial in any strict sense.
The second on the above list was originally (before the war) The Grand Lodge of
Prussia, called Royal York of Friendship. It became a Grand Lodge in 1798,
originally it was a subordinate of the Lodge of the Three Globes (Welt-Kugeln),
which chartered subordinates as a "Mother Lodge." Royal York seceded from its
Mother and became a Mother Lodge in its turn, and later with its daughters formed
a Grand Lodge. Since the war "Royal York" has been deleted from its style and it
is now the Grand Lodge of Prussia, called "of Friendship," in Berlin.
The Frankfort body is styled the Grand Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Masonic
Union (freimaurerbundes) at Frankfort-on-the-Main. The last of the four
mentioned is presumably the Grand National Lodge (Landesloge) of the
Freemasons of Germany, at Berlin, and was instituted in 1770. The Grand Lodge
of Hamburg has a simple geographical title of the kind that needs no explanation
for American Masons.
There are four other Grand Lodges more than a hundred years old, and one very
new one. This last is the Grand Lodge of the German Brother- tie (lit. Brotherchain,
Bruder Kette) at Leipsig, and is, we believe, formed of the five old independent
(but perfectly regular) lodges that for many years were confederated in the "Free
Union of the Five Independent Lodges of Germany."
Besides these are the Grand National Mother Lodge of the Three Globes, dating
from 1740, the Grand Lodge "of the Sun" at Bayreuth, the Grand State-Lodge
(Landesloge) of Saxony at Dresden, and the Grand Freemason's Lodge "of
Concord" at Darmstadt.
No indication is given in the report as to the reasons for selecting four only out of
the nine to be granted recognition by California, it may be only these four
reciprocated, or that the committee has so far gone no further in its researches. In
regard to the regularity of these Grand Lodges from the strictest Anglo-Saxon
point of view there has never been a breath of accusation from any responsible
Inventions and Myths of Symbolism
The state of being in doubt is mentally more than merely an uneasy one, to most
minds it is positively painful. It is this urge for certainty that is the root cause of so
many established errors.
The phenomenon also appears in Masonry, and especially is the obscure field of
the origin of Masonic symbolism a fertile field for such invented explanations. In
an article on "Colors, Flowers and Numbers in Symbolism" that appeared recently
in the Masonic Review of New York, the author, Bro. J. B. Nicholson, has
collected much interesting and curious information, but he has inadvertently
included a statement that has no other grounds for credence than the fact that it has
been frequently and solemnly repeated. It is to the alleged fact, as it is put in This
instance, that “a sprig of acacia has been used by many ancient peoples to mark the
grave and as a sign of future life." The more usual version of this mythical dictum
is to the effect that it was an ancient custom among the Hebrews to mark a grave
with a bush or sprig of acacia. Not an iota of evidence has ever been offered to
substantiate the statement. Not a single reference in ancient authors to any such
custom has ever been discovered, among the Hebrews or any other race. The single
possible exception is the late version of the myth of Osiris as related by Greek
authors, where a tree is said to have grown up about the coffin or chest containing
the body of the dead deity. This tree is said to have been a tamarisk or acacia, but
more correctly a tamarisk or acaca, neither of which is related to the acacia. It is
indeed probable that the introduction of the acacia, or, rather, the transformation of
the original cassia into acacia, in the Masonic legend, was due to the emendations
of learned brethren in the eighteenth century under the influence of the classic
version of the story of Osiris.
France and Germany and World Peace.
The following from Alpina, the organ of the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland,
is of interest. It originally appeared in the Luzerner Tayblatt.
Although France officially poses as a champion of European peace, her political
action is still too often influenced by military considerations . . .
And yet the French people are much less militaristic than their government, or than
is realized by those who do not know France. It is here that the great difference
from Germany is to be found. There the bourgeoisie cannot believe it to be
possible to be at the same time patriotic and pacific. The League of the Rights of
Man, and similar societies have numerous members in France, while in Germany
the same societies, though active, have a much smaller membership. The Grand
Orient and the Grand Lodge of France, which have between them 70,000 members,
are entirely pacifist, while the Prussian lodges are anti-pacifist.
Scottish Masonry of the High Degrees, so much decried and calumniated, which
has its best leaders in France, is wholly international, and has only one political
aim: the union of Europe for European peace, and work in common for the
advancement of culture and morality.
In the month of September the (International) League of Freemasons assembled at
Amsterdam under the banner "Peace in Europe." The leaders of Freemasonry were
gathered there from every country: the German Grand Lodges alone had not yet
sufficiently disarmed, spiritually, to participate.
We may understand the attitude of German Masons by putting ourselves in their
place and trying to realize how we should feel. And it must be remembered too that
Freemasonry in Germany is being subjected to a relentless and continued attack,
and that every effort is being made by its enemies to brand it as unpatriotic and
anti-nationlist. The absurdity and ridiculous nature of the accusations may lead us
at a distance to under, estimate the actual weight and effect of this organized
attack. But it is enough to force our German brethren to be very circumspect in
what they do, quite aside from any other consideration.
The Death of Ettore Ferrari.
The death of Bro. Ferrari in Italy has been quite generally announced in the
Masonic press. The following details, which we take from Alpina, are worthy of
record here. Bro. Ettore Ferrari was born in 1849, and was eighty years old this
year. He was a sculptor by profession, one of the most widely and favorably
known in Europe. He has always been attached to the Italian Republican Party -
now of course suppressed - and served several terms on the Municipal Council of
Rome in the past. He was an Honorable Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy
and Secretary of the Supreme Council of the Grand Orient. On account of his
Masonic connections he suffered persecution under the present regime. Sometime
ago his house was burned by a Fascist mob and his valuable art collections
pillaged. The venerable old man was dragged out and threatened by assailants,
revolvers in hand, to whom he made the proud and dignified protest, "You can kill
me if you like, but it will be the shame of Italy." Though not injured he was
subjected thereafter to constant and petty official persecution, in every way that
might suggest itself to small and vindictive minds.
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THE STUDY C LU B
A pamphlet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" will be sent free on
request, in quantities to fifty
A Study Club in Action
BY BRO. HERBERT HUNGERFORD
DURING the past few months I have urged the need of a general program of
"popular" Masonic education, a program designed to appeal to the average Mason.
Now, I find that our good "high-brow" brethren are much too far in advance to be
able to help much; they simply do not seem to be able to understand where to
begin, in order to appeal to the ordinary member of the Fraternity.
Now generalities are all right, but they are not enough by themselves. I propose,
therefore, this month to present extracts from some letters written by an Ohio
brother sometime ago which describe how he solved the problem of interesting a
group of average Masons in his lodge; and more than interesting them, he
succeeded in getting them to work.
A Three Months' Study Program
Your letter was a wonderful tonic and affords me considerable encouragement, just
when I have been in doubt,
I think the following will give you the information you request, and if there are any
further developments worth while I will inform you.
I might mention that the complete "Designs on the Trestle Board" have been fairly
well worked out so far, but I had hoped to climax the six weeks' course by one full
evening instead of one and one-quarter hours - then let the brethren talk their
"heads off' instead of limiting them to three minutes. They are now raring to go,
and I wanted them just that way. Twelve to twenty-three minute talks consume one
hour or more and allows little time for anything else.
Thos. C. Divine.
Program of Lotus Study Club
The meetings of the Study Club were held after the lodge was closed. (The lodge
referred to is Lotus No. 625, Toledo, Ohio.) All present at the lodge meeting were
invited to stay. The percentage of those who did so was very encouraging.
No Teacher. A Director, T. C. Devine.
Present, twelve members, all with a sort of a let' s-see-what-if s-all-about look, not
sure of themselves. This look soon vanished.
Short talk by Director on Object and Purpose.
To improve myself in Masonry.
To further seek the Light of Masonry.
To learn the meaning of Masonic symbols, allegory and metaphor.
To learn more about the work, of the phraseology or the ritual and so on.
First, to study and learn all I can.
Second, to be able to arise on my feet and explain what I know briefly and
Third, to increase my vocabulary.
Five words are given to look up and to use.
It was impressed on their minds that no one can speak in public or even converse
intelligently without knowing his subject, and the subject here is Masonry.
There followed a series of questions. Not to be answered however, but simply to
arouse interest. No embarrassing questions, no trick questions, no difficult
questions. The purpose is to simplify.
The Director in his talk asks concerning the First, Second and Third Degrees, from
the time of Entrance into the Lodge until the end; the Points of Entrance, the Cable
Tow, Circumambulation, Divesting, etc., and inserts a constant, "Why?"
Everyone present has one of these symbols assigned to him to look up, and is told
that at the next meeting he will be called upon to rise to his feet and talk three
minutes on his subject. (Bear in mind that with one or two exceptions these are
brothers who never talked before an audience in their lives, Rough Stones to be
made into Perfect Ashlars.)
The Director then reads a carefully selected, short article on Symbolism, perhaps a
short poem illustrative of the meaning of allegory and metaphor. The Director then
gives them a Jewel (at every meeting) to take home with them - a Jewel that cannot
be lost, bought, sold or stolen. They wonder now what sort of a Jewel this is. The
Director then requests them all to rise to their feet, and now a carefully selected
Jewel - from a bound volume of THE BUILDER - of about six or eight lines, is
first read to them, then they are asked to repeat after the leader, after which he
drops out and they recite alone. '
The Jewel Memorized by the Class.
We are all like children playing on the seashore, picking up here a pebble and there
a stone, with the whole ocean of truth unexplored before us. - Sir Isaac Newton.
A few minutes explaining the meaning of this, the necessity of gathering
information from authentic sources, the proper authorities to seek for data. Then,
As previously reported there were twelve present at the first meeting, and each
accepted an assignment. At the second meeting ten responded, out of 22 present. It
must be kept in mind, too, that we meet after the regular meeting. Now let us
proceed. Subjects: The Cable Tow; Women Who Were Masons; Was Abraham
Lincoln a Mason? Was George Washington a Mason? (Both subjects appropriate
for February); Metallic Substances - Divested Of; Working Tools of a Mason; The
Lambskin Apron; The Three Greater and Three Lesser Lights; T.G.A.O.U.;
Entered Apprentice Degree; Fellowcraft Degree, and the Master Mason Degree.
References all the way through have been made to Mackey's Encyclopaedia and
THE BUILDER. I have the pages marked and ready for those who call, or
telephone, and my bound copies of THE BUILDER are accessible to all, though
not always to take home with them.
Sixteen assignments were given for this meeting and about twelve responded, but
there were thirty-six who remained after the meeting to participate. All cannot
accept assignments owing to uncertainty of attendance. But the big thing is that
interest is shown. The subjects assigned were: Eavesdroppers and Cowans; The
Widow's Son; Tubal Cain; The Perfect Ashlar; Why Does the Worshipful Master
Wear a Hat? Allegory and Metaphor; The Lodge a Symbol of the World; the
Temple Not Made With Hands; The Lost Word; How to Wear a Masonic Ring?
How Many Circumambulations Round the Lodge in the E. A. Degree; the F. C.
and M. M.? How Was the C. T. employed in the E.A. Degree; The F.C. and M.M.?
There were twenty subjects assigned, but I must now tell you of disappointments
as well as successes, so this was not so good. It was a late meeting (the regular
meeting) with a great deal of important business, and the lodge was not closed until
9:45. The class could not get started until 10 p. m., with the F. C. team required to
drill preparatory to inspection the following week. At the beginning of the meeting
there were only ten present, with twenty assignments, and not all present had
asaignments. Later on the attendance increased to about eighteen, but the meeting
dragged (although I talked between times) because we could not proceed according
to schedule. The brothers were tired out. I have no fault to find. Bear in mind,
however, that all had studied their subjects and only they know how diligently.
This was consolation.
The subjects were: The Cornucopia; Pomegranate; Acacia; Lotus; All Seeing Eye;
Almond Tree Shall Flourish; Altar and the Homs of the Altar; Designs on the
Trestle Board; Hours of Labor; Gavel, Plumb, Square, Level; Twenty- four Inch
Gauge; Compass; Trowel; Circumambulation; Hour Glass and Why Is There No
Light in the North?
I gave ten assignments for this meeting and in the interval endeavored to get in
touch with the brothers who were absent, to keep them in tow. The subjects
assigned were: The Lion of the Tribe of Judah; Tetragrammaton; High Twelve and
Low Twelve; Furniture of the Lodge, Broached Thumel; Sublime Degree;
Ineffable Name; The Manual; Pedal, Pectoral; Guttural Points; The Northeast
Comer - How Symbolic of the Corner Stone? (Gave the student my copy of 1918
BUILDER, which has best article on Northeast Comer I have seen anywhere. I
have made several good talks from it); Where Is the Bible Opened in the First,
Second and Third Degrees?
The series or season ends, with only six lessons in all, and I consider it time well
spent for the club or class, for the lodge, for Masonry and for myself.
There have been sixty subjects, and, of course, any student knows that no one
looking into Mackey's for one subject can escape finding others of interest, and the
same applies to the bound volumes of THE BUILDER. Each brother who has
visited me is actually amazed at the information in THE BUILDER and puts in a
couple of hours before he is through.
From the bound volumes of THE BUILDER I have read, quoted, and taught the
class the following (and I always have my bound volumes with me during
Women Masons, pages 157, 189, Vol. 3.
George Washington, page 157, Vol. 3.
Stephen A. Douglass.
Palm Trees, Joyce Kilmer, page 115, Vol. 1.
(This used as example of allegory and metaphor - preparatory to - explaining the
more difficult Metaphors following).
The Almond Tree Shall Flourish, page 138, Vol. 1.
The Golden Bowl.
Ecclesiastes xii, page 297, Vol. 1.
Poem, "In Fellowship," page 264, Vol. 1.
Like Children, page 233, Vol. 1.
Knowledge Wisdom, page 241, Vol. 1. ( Education )
When Is a Man a Mason? pages 41, 45, Vol. 3.
The Work of a Mason, page 117, Vol. 3.
Jewels memorized by class, one at each meeting by repeating aloud.
Building Designs, page 288.
Poem, "Building a Bridge at Twilight," page 168.
Why Does the Master Wear a Hat, page 120.
How to Wear a Masonic Ring; current issue.
There were others, but this gives the general idea. And to my mind the keynote of
successful instruction in Masonic literature, Symbolism, etc., is to arouse interest,
stimulate it, and organize those interested into study groups or clubs rather than a
dry lecture by a sometimes dry lecturer who reprimands his audience for neglect.
One might do the same thing with a baseball or football team - scold the college or
school faculty and students because they had no team, or take no interest in the
game. But the thing required is a captain or coach or trainer who knows the game
and will say, Come on, here are bats, balls, etc., let's organize. He plays with them
or directs them and eventually they have a team.
So my theory is that while there are a few of us who love reading, studying or
research work, we cannot hope for all to do so alone, so magazines and books are
laid away in moth balls until "We get time." "Some day we are going to read."
Their best friends, the books, get musty with age, waiting for that "some day"
which never comes. The brother gets a thrill in saying, "Tve got a set of books," or
"I've got a book," but he has it on the shelf instead of in his head, and needs our aid
in transfering the contents.
This, then, has been my purpose in volunteering first, and directing for six
evenings in three months, in class, and everyday in aiding the members of Lotus
There have been no dues, no charges, no sales. We worked with the tools at hand.
The first thing to do was to get the brethren started - their interest aroused. This has
been done, and not only myself, but all the members of Lotus Lodge are very well
pleased with the results.
* * *
A GENERAL KNOWLEDGE QUESTIONNAIRE
In the October number of the Orphan's Friend and Masonic Journal, the following
interesting item appears. It seems to offer a useful suggestion for the educational
committees of lodges as well as for study clubs. There is nothing like an element of
competition to stimulate interest:
The bulletin of Carolina Consistory, of Charlotte, for October is interesting.
Among other things it carries twenty-five questions on Masonry, with the answers
given at the end. A very wide range is found in the questions, which makes them
all the more practical. From general Masonic knowledge to local information the
The editor of the bulletin tells us that the idea was first tried out in a contest held
by a District of Columbia lodge when the best of answers were correct by only 64
per cent. Nothing is said about the brother who handed in the worst examination.
The questionnaire, with local questions made to apply to this grand jurisdiction
instead of the District of Columbia follows:
1. Who is the present Grand Master of North Carolina?
2. Who is the present Grand Secretary of North Carolina?
3. Who is the District Deputy Grand Master (Twenty seventh District?).
4. How many Masonic Districts in North Carolina?
5. How many lodges in the Charlotte (Twenty-Seventh District?
6. Give names and numbers of the Masonic Lodges in Charlotte.
7. How many Presidents of the United States were Masons?
8. When was the mother Grand Lodge formed in England?
9. Where was George Washington raised a Master Mason?
10. What was the highest Masonic office held by Paul Revere ?
1 1 . How many Past Grand Masters reside in Charlotte?
12. Where should the Bible be opened on the Third Degree?
13. How many Masons compose a Master Mason's Lodge?
14. How many a Lodge on the first degree?
15. How many stations in a Lodge?
16. What Grand Lodge forbids its members to join the Eastern Star?
17. What President of the United States was violently opposed to Freemasonry?
18. What President of the United States was a Grand Master?
19. How often does the General Grand Lodge of the United States meet?
20. When is St. John the Evangelist's Day?
2 1 . What degree is higher than Master Mason?
22. Can a Lodge try a sojourning Brother for un-Masonic conduct?
23. What Grand Lodge does not number its Lodges?
24. Is dual membership permitted in North Carolina?
26. What Grand Lodge uses the letters A.F.M. instead of F.&A. or F.&A.M.?
— o —
The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department
of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices are
subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice, though occasion for
this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen where books are privately
printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given
in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on
any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
A READER'S GUIDE TO MASONIC LITERATURE. By J. Hugo Tatsch.
Published by the Macoy Co. Paper, 31 pages.
IN RECENT years there have been a number of pamphlets published to aid the
inexperienced but enquiring brother in his search for information about the Craft.
These compilations have been made from very different standpoints. Some have
tended toward the bibliographical, others have included titles of works that are
only indirectly of Masonic interest, others again have been confined to strictly
Bro. Tatsch has endeavored to steer a middle course. In the first place he has listed
only books still in print, which can be readily obtained. As he remarks:
Many of the choicest books were issued only in limited quantities, and are now to
be found only on the bookshelves of the discriminating collector, or in the libraries
of Lodges or Grand Lodges. Very few appear on the market today.
In the second place the titles listed are marked in two categories, those which are
of the first importance, and those of a subsidiary character. And this is a guide both
for reading and acquisition.
The lists come under general subject heads, beginning with History, while in spite
of the prejudice against it in the minds of so many, is the foundation of a
comprehensive understanding of Freemasonry. Masonic History is given two sub-
lists, American History and Biography.
Following these come Ethics and Philosophy, the Ancient Mysteries, Symbolism,
the Ritual, Mysticism, Jurisprudence, Fiction, Miscellaneous Works and Works of
Reference. Then there are Monitors and Handbooks, Proceedings and
Transactions, Periodicals and works in other languages. The arrangement is purely
empirical, and undoubtedly this is an advantage, for any attempt at a theoretically
consistent arrangement would be apt to confuse those for whom the pamphlet is
intended. At the end are some brief hints on the management of a small library.
There is very little that we would criticize. One might feel some surprise that the
Foreign Language list contains only German works. There have been a number of
really outstanding works in French recently published. Perhaps there are fewer
American Masons who read French than German.
Some of the miscellaneous works are really historical, but perhaps are better thus
classed for the purpose in view. We are glad to note that Bro. Tatsch gives a word
of warning as a preface to the works on the Ancient Mysteries. Most of them need
to be taken with more than one grain of salt. S. B.
* * *
FOUR SQUARE. The Story of a Fourfold Life. By John Rathbone Oliver.
Published by The Macmillian Company, New York. Cloth, Table of Contents, 305
pages. Price, $2.65.
IT is not at all uncommon for the statement to be made that 1 a book will live, or
that it will have a very short life. The elements which go to make for longevity are
in many cases elusive and defy description. It is a conceded feet that scholarly
treatises have a longer life than almost any book published. The reasons for this are
self-evident. Biography also has its place among the classics. Perhaps this is one
factor which might contribute to making the volume under review a book of future
interest. While it is very difficult to predict what will live and what will not, I
should be inclined to the opinion that if any of Dr. Oliver's works are handed down
to future generations, it will be his last volume in perference to either of the first
two. I think that Dr. Oliver's style will have more to do with the long life of his
book than anything else. Perhaps basically this is not true, because in his style is
resected nothing more than the experiences of his life. He has in the present
volume divided his life experience into four parts. His style might be said to have
four dominating characteristics, which correspond to the four divisions of his
existence. Dr. Oliver writes in the last part of his book of his religious experience,
and to me at least, this is the most interesting, but at the same time, the least
successful portion of the work. It is hard for one who has had a somewhat similar
experience to appreciate the difficulties in the way of writing about one's religion,
and although I make the statement that this is the least successful part of his work,
I do have a deep appreciation for the many obstacles he must have encountered in
writing it. It is in no way a detraction from the interest of the book, and it is no
reflection on the book as a whole to say that this section is not the best example of
writing Dr. Oliver has done. As I have indicated, it is to me at least, in spite of its
failure as an exposition, the most interesting of all he has written. The portion
which he terms "The Altar" has had its effect on his style. Just as his religion is
indefinable in many respects, so does his style have the wistfulness that one finds
in a deeply religious person who is very sincere in his beliefs, but at the same time,
finds it impossible to describe them. The religious motive pervades the atmosphere
of Four Square from beginning to end, expressed at times in words and at other
times in nothing more than this characteristic of style just mentioned.
Another phase of Dr. Oliver's life is that which he terms "The University." As a
man well along toward middle life, he enrolled as a graduate student at Johns
Hopkins University, and took his Ph.D. degree. During his student life a new
dormitory, which has come to be known as the Alumni Memorial Hall, was
erected, and Dr. Oliver occupied and still occupies a suite of rooms therein. He has
now been made warden of the Hall, a sort of gentleman supervisor, but his
supervision is of an ideal kind. It would take too long to tell about it here, and only
the fact that he is in such close contact with college students, many of whom are
very much younger than he is, could account for a certain happiness that is to be
found throughout his book. This buoyant style is not the joy of a man on the
downward grade of life, but rather a youthful enthusiasm. It is one of those
contagious elements of youth which seemingly has infected Dr. Oliver through his
The third element is that of a scholarly doctor of medicine interested in his
particular specialty, which happens to be mental diseases. One must naturally be a
scholar to attain eminence in a field such as this, and it is only natural that his
study of the many cases which come to his notice should reflect itself in his
manner of writing. And then we come to the fourth division, namely, Dr. Oliver's
experience in the criminal court, which has led him to a kindly understanding of
human nature such as few people possess. Perhaps it is due to this experience that
we find a very deep humanity in the style of the author.
Strange as it may seem in thus analyzing Dr. Oliver's style, and at the same time
saying something about his book, we have handled the subject matter in reverse
order from the way in which he has chosen to treat it. But this arbitrary
arrangement is the order in which the various elements of his style make their
deepest appeal, and I think it may be safely said that it is the way in which the four
elements have made their deepest impressions on the man.
— o —
Strictly, speaking, Four Square does not fall into the realm of autobiography,
neither can it be classed as a collection of memoirs. About as near as it is possible
to come to any classification would be to say that it is a collection of
autobiographical reminiscences. Anyone who has read previous books published
by Dr. Oliver must undoubtedly feel that he should like to know more about the
man himself. It is the present volume which gives that information, and it is by far
the most interesting of the three. In many respects, it is the least well done. Perhaps
this is due to modesty, and I am inclined to think that this is perhaps the most
important reason, because Dr. Oliver in all of his books has approached his subject
with this same modesty, - a lack of presumption, an unwillingness to take the credit
for being of considerable help to mankind. He takes his successes primarily, I
think, as lucky happenings, but his failures leave a deep impression. But we see
revealed in Four Square a man who has had trials and tribulations amply sufficient
many men, but from which he has emerged victorious, and leading the kind of a
life that many of us should envy. E. E. T.
FRANKLIN, THE APOSTLE OF MODERN TIMES. By Bernard Pay. Published
by Little, Brown and Co. Cloth, octave, table contents, illustrated, bibliography,
index, xvi and 547 pages. Price, $3.00 net.
ANOTHER book to which one instinctly takes a fancy - it has the appearance,
"heft" and feel which readers relish in something which attracts them. The binding
is of soft black cloth, such as first made its appearance last year in European book
marts. A bit faddish, it is true; just how long it will last is something that cannot be
At first blush, the book is one which the Masonic reviewer hails with delight,
because - wonder of wonders! - it actually has references, and many of them, to
Franklin as a Freemason. We have condoned, though somewhat grudingly, the
failure of biographers to mention the Masonic activities of their subjects when such
have not been plentiful or unusually outstanding; but why biographers of Franklin
never said a word about him as a Freemason is something unforgiveable, when
considering how much is on record in that respect. True, Franklin himself never
said a word in his Autobiography of his Craft labors, or gave any intimation of
them, with but two known exceptions, in his correspondence. Says W. Bro. Julius
F. Sachse in Franklin as a Freemason (Philadelphia, 1906)
This omission is the more remarkable when we look at his Masonic career while in
France during the later years of his life. There his activity and intimacy with the
brethren was intimate and close both personal and official, Franklin taking an
active part in their proceedings, even advancing to the so-called higher degrees.
Franklin carefully retained all of his French Lodge notices and correspondence,
while of his American and English career not a scrap can be found, except what is
noted in these pages.
To review the entire book, which is written in a fascinating and interest compelling
style, would take more space than is available. I must confine myself to the
Masonic sections solely. The work first came to my attention two years ago, when
examining one of the large private collections of Frankliniana in a western state,
where I was informed by the librarian that Bernard Fay had been visiting.
Consequently, I watched for announcements of the book, and procured an advance
copy through the courtesy of the publishers. This is an opportune time to say that
the book has been selected by the Book of the Month Club as its December title,
something which arouses both pleasure and regret. Pleasure, because it will give
many people an intimation of Freemasonry's eighteenth century activities; regret,
because much that has been said by Fay about Franklin in a Masonic way is
misleading. The author has read into his record a number of things which we
review with tongue in cheek. It seems that Fay is not a Mason; but if he should be a
member of the Fraternity, he has not caught the spirit of our Masonic institution.
There are some friendships which must be taken by assault. Such was the case of
Freemasonry for Franklin.
He wanted to be a Mason and needed to be one. But at first his chances seemed
slim enough. The solid bourgeois men, who made up the Lodge of Saint John of
Jerusalem in Philadelphia, didn't think highly of this much traveled, adventurous,
jolly little printer. He did not belong to their environment. Besides, his club, the
Junto, a society of little artisans, was a kind of rival.
But Franklin wanted to belong to this circle of serious rich, influential men, who
could aid him much in his career. In London he had seen how rapidly Masonry had
made its way among the important men, among the intellectuals and the most
intelligent of the upper middle class. It spread over the United States with the same
success. Philadelphia had its lodge in 1727 [sic], Boston in 1733, Georgia in 1734,
South Carolina in 1725, etc. In Europe, Paris had its first lodge in 1725, but
Florence had to wait until 1733, Hamburg until 1737, Berlin 1740, and St.
Petersburg 1771. America wasn't behind the times.
Franklin realized what power was represented by such international affiliations and
how important they could be for a journalist and printer; he also knew his ideas on
religion, politics and the future of humanity corresponded with those of Masonry.
He decided to force his way into the society and succeeded.
Franklin was not without weapons and he was quick to see the weak point of
Masonry. From its very start, Masonry had been surrounded in mystery, and this
disquieted the Government and annoyed the idlers who could not join. Secrecy was
the power of the Masons in business and politics, but it was also their weakness. If
the newspapers were to stir up public opinion against it, the Masons risked being
abolished, either by the furious crowd, or the hostile Government.
Franklin made the Masons realize that he could use his newspapers either to serve
them or to harm them. In several numbers of 1730 he printed the news relative to
English lodges and their functioning, and his accounts were written in an amiable
tone. Then he made a sign to show that it was time he be chosen, either as a friend
or an enemy. On December 8, 1730, he published a report sent from London in the
Pennsylvania (gazette, which claimed to contain a complete description of the
Masonic mysteries. [Here follows the well known account.] * * *
The Masons were wiser than to discuss the matter. Some weeks later they invited
the shrewd printer to join them.
And Franklin, quite ready "to carry on the jest," seriously accepted.
The italics in the above extract are mine. The statements may not mean much to
the uninformed, be he Mason or nonMason, but they most assuredly arouse
conflicting emotions in the heart of the Craft student. The author certainly has
succeeded in attracting attention to his text, and assures himself of a careful
reading of other Masonic references. One wonders why the positive assertion that
the Philadelphia lodge was founded in 1727 ? I suspect this is attributed to the
1908 Philadelphia publication, in facsimile, of The Constitutions of St. John's
Lodge which is none other than the Tho. Carmick MS., to which the date of A D.
1727 has been given As I point out in my recently published volume, Freemasonry
in the Thirteen Colonies, the date of the manuscript is not necessarily proof that
there was a lodge in Philadelphia in the same year, even allowing for Julius F.
Sachse's statement in Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, (Vol. 1. page 2) that "The
finding of a copy of the Constitutions of St. John's Lodge, written by Bro Thomas
Carmick and dated 1727, undoubtedly proves that St. John's Lodge was established
several years prior to the date of Franklin's first notice in the (gazette." Bro.
Sachse's commendable zeal to prove Pennsylvania Masonic priorities was not
always tempered with the caution which should mark the careful historian. He may
have been right; but if the evidence is ever found, it will be based on documents
other than those cited. The lost Liber A - if there is one - may offer more definite
The date of 1725, attributed to Masonic origins in France, is also open to question,
even though Louis Amiable in his Une Loge Maconnique d'avant 1789; La R. L.
les Neuf Soeurs does say "La franc-maconnerie moderne avail ete introduite en
France vers 1725." Gould in his larger History of Freemasonry, speaking of
Masonry in France, says: "The History of its first half century must be open to
much doubt." Yet these details are beside the point; but I mention them in passing
as a matter of information. We might also question the logic of the author's
statement that "Franklin realized the power represented by such inter-national
affiliations,” for at the time of which we speak, there were no lodges (other than
the doubtful French ones) on the Continent. While it is true that Masonry had a
rapid run in England among excellent people, and also in Philadelphia - to judge
from the character and activities of the early members of St. John's Lodge - we
must not lose sight of the fact that the lodges were democratic in spirit. It is
difficult to believe that Franklin had to "force his way into the society," or that
Franklin was obliged to coerce - no matter how politely - the Masons of his day to
"invite" him to join the Craft. The matter of solicitation, which we abhor so today,
was probably then a fairly common thing, especially when it was felt that persons
of prominence would add dignity, stability and character to the social organizations
which the lodges really were in the early days. I doubt if it is justifiable to attribute
ulterior motives to Franklin's publication of Masonic news in his "Gazette" during
the period before he was a Freemason. He had a keen nose for news, as Fay shows
in his later pages where he presents the relationships of Franklin with the rival
These are minor points, I grant; but they reflect the tone of the Masonic references
throughout the book, which all tend to be misleading. There is also one definite
error, the attributing to Franklin the authorship (or at least a part) of the
Constitution of the Free-Masons, which Franklin reprinted in 1734. On page 167 of
the book under review is the statement: "He [Franklin] wrote, 'All Preferment
among Masons is grounded upon real Worth and personal Merit only.'" This
appears on page 50 of the Franklin reprint, being part of the first sentence in
Article IV of "The Charges of a Free-Mason." Franklin did not add anything of his
own to the work; it was simply a reprint of Anderson's The Book of Constitutions
which appeared in London, 1723.
On page 179 is this sentence: "These 'Masons' practiced all kinds of bizarre, and
sometimes shocking rites which had nothing in common with the central
organization, the Grand Lodge of London." Reference is had here to Masonic or
pseudo-Masonic bodies of continental Europe; such to whom the charge applies
had no connection whatever with the premier Grand Lodge, which was in no sense
a "central organization" maintaining supervision over the lodges reiterred to. The
fallacy that Freemasonry has, or ever did have, a central governing body which
controlled lodges in various parts of the world on an equal basis is one which will
not down in the minds of the uninformed.
The author also attributes too much importance to the anti-Masonic activities in
Pennsylvania, 1736-1738. The coarse and bucolic sense of humor possessed by one
or several men precipitated a mild storm which had no lasting effect. (See my
article in THE BUILDER, August, 1926, "The Rise and Development of Anti-
Masonry in America, 1737-1826.") I think, too, that too much stress is laid upon
the opposition of women to Freemasonry. Such Anti-Masonry as existed in
eighteenth century America was inconsequential, and did not partake of the
political and clerical animus which existed in Europe at the same time.
On page 384, the author speaks of political difficulties in the Colonies, and says:
"In Massachusetts the Masonic lodges and the revolutionary committees led the
dance." Masonic orators and writers, with more enthusiasm than the facts warrant,
and with a disregard of what they are bringing down upon the Fraternity, have
frequently said that Freemasonry was a vital influence in the American revolution.
This is true, no doubt; but they would be hard pressed to prove that it was
organized Freemasonry. Having succeeded in the aims and objects of the
Revolution, we can take a smug pride in the accomplishments of the Craft of the
day; but had the Revolution failed, and were we still subjects of the Crown, these
very same orators and writers would speak contemptuously of the "rebels" and
"traitors" among their ancient brethren, and how they perverted the true doctrines
of the Fraternity. There is no doubt that Freemasons did their part in freeing the
Colonies from an unbearable situation - one in which they had the warm sympathy
of Britishers in England; but whatever they did, it was done as individual citizens
and patriots, and not as groups of organized Freemasons. Freemasonry has many a
Washington-and-his-little hacket story written by the Craft counterparts of Weems;
a little iconoclastic criticism would have a wholesome effect.
While my review may appear highly critical and unfriendly, it is not written in
such vein. Perhaps we should not find fault with non-Masons for failing to
interpret the spirit of our ancient and gentle Craft and its workings when our own
writers so often make a miserable job of it. Freemasonry and its story through the
centuries is confusing time and time again; there is always something about it
which eludes capture, examination and analysis. It simply cannot be studied as a
thing separate and apart from the times in which it grew; like all things, it partakes
of its environment.
A word about Bernard Fay. The Fraternity should feel honored that so
distinguished a writer has taken notice of it, and especially in connection with our
beloved Franklin - that human, whole-soured, many-sided man whose span of life,
1706-1790, covered a remarkable period in our history. Fay was bom in Paris in
1893; he has taken all the degrees that can be earned by a professor in France; he
won his M. A. at Harvard in 1920. He has been lecturer or acting professor at
Columbia University, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, State
University of Iowa, etc. He has lectured in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, etc. His
contributions have appeared in many notable periodicals, among them "The
Forum," "The Saturday Review of Literature," and "The American Historical
Review." French, German and Spanish periodicals have also published his
writings. He served in the World War with distinction, being discharged as Captain
in 1919, having won the Croix de Guerre at Verdun and the Medaille de Leopold II
for service in Belgium.
J. H. T.
* * *
THE AMAZING BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. Edited by J. Henry Smythe Jr.
Published by the Frederick A. Stokes Co. Cloth, illustrated, 206 pages, price, $3.00
GOOD things come in threes! We have had the Phillips T Russell biography; I
have just reviewed the Fay book; and here comes a third treatment of the lovable
Franklin. This is a volume the discriminating book-lover will delight in. It is nicely
bound in a maroon cloth, embossed in gold on the back strip and front cover; has a
two-color title page, and is set oft with a portrait of Franklin in colors as a
frontispiece. The type is of a neat face, showing legibly on the laid paper which
makes the book a bit out of the ordinary. Apparently its makers had in mind a tone
that would last longer than an ephemeral novel, and wisely chose materials which
would withstand the ravages of time, as well as the thumbing that would be meted
out to a volume which might well be classified as a reference work in addition to
being designated as a biography.
The new book is not a running tale, but is a collection of forty-three separate
articles by the same number of contributors on the various and multitudinous
aspects of Franklin's long life.
Obviously, a book arranged as this is cannot very well have an index; hence I am
sparing the volume the castigation which I never fail to give one which should
have, but lacks, an index. Were I a theologian of the old school, I'd reserve a
special place in Hades for authors and publishers who send forth their products
without indices. This one omission has caused more loss of potential buyers than
any other that can be named.
The reading of the chapter titles alone, classified under three headings as "Franklin,
the Public Man," "Franklin, the Printer," and "Franklin, the Versatile," give one a
picture such as could not be so readily obtained at a glance from the usual
biographical treatment. Each writer treats of a phase very evidently dear to him,
and one upon which he can speak authoritatively. President Hoover contributes a
short Foreword to the book; Charles E. Hughes writes of Franklin as a diplomat;
Harry S. New, the Postmaster General, tells us what Franklin did as father of the U.
S. Postal Service. Major General Hugh L. Scott, U. S. A. (Retired) brings out a fact
not so generally known - that Franklin held and exercised a Colonel's commission
at one time. This treatment is contrasted by an article on Franklin as the "Advocate
of Peace," written by an officer of the National Council for Prevention of War in
the vein so common among professional progagandists. The banker pays tribute to
Franklin as the father of thrift in America; while William Green, President of the
American Federation of Labor, designates him as "Labor's Patron Saint." Further, I
cannot resist mention of chapters on Franklin as an athlete; as a patron saint of the
music industries; as the inventor of bifocal lens and the father of daylight saving;
as a printer, who "made a comfortable fortune in twenty years" - why, oh, why did
the secret of that accomplishment die with him? It is as unique as the feat of the
seven Hebrew buglers of Holy Writ, who played together in perfect unison,
thereby causing the walls of a besieged city to fall. In sheer astonishment, no
The dissection of Franklin's virtues and achievements naturally places him on a
pedestal, and the inevitable reaction follows. Happily, this is relieved by the
chapter upon Franklin as "America's First Great Humorist," written by Griffith
Alexander, Ex-President, American Press Humorists. Our hero comes down to
earth again, and when we read the sentence, "And those who want further proof
that he was kind to his own shortcomings and the shortcomings of others may read
Polly Baker's speech," we recall its full publication (with also another choice bit) in
Russell's biography already referred to. A Colonel of militia who would think of
serving grog to his men for their material interests, after holding prayers with them
for their spiritual welfare, surely had his feet on the ground, and was well aware of
the human frailties and foibles of his associates.
There is one chapter that interests Freemasons especially; it is on "Franklin, The
Right Worshipful Grand Master," written by Bro. J.E. Burnett Buckenham, M. D.,
who, until a year or so ago, was Curator and Librarian of the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania. This stamps the chapter as being authoritative, and as such can be
taken as dependable. The date of 1723, given as the year when the Ancient and
Honorable Society of Freemasons had been reorganized, is obviously a slip of the
pen for 1717. The year 1723 is noteworthy for two things, first, the publication in
London of Anderson's Book of Constitutions (which Franklin reprinted in 1734 at
Philadelphia), and the year when the Grand Lodge of England began its written
mini uses. There were none for the first six years. (See Quatuor Coronatorum
Antigraphia, Vol. X.) Bro. Buckenham had a penchant for collecting old
Constitution books, and his interest in that direction no doubt caused the
unintentional substitution of 1723 for 1717.
In speaking of the Franklin reprint of the Constitution Book, Bro. Buckenham
indicates that eight copies are known. It might be said that eleven have been traced,
as indicated in an article of mine in "The American Collector" (New York), issue
of December, 1927, entitled "Notes on Rare Masonic Books: The Franklin
Constitutions of 1734."
Franklin's membership in the Lodge of the Nine Sisters, Paris, is mentioned. This
lodge, formed on "the 1 1th of the 1st month, 1776," (which means March 11, 1776,
as the French Masonic year began with March, not January), is well known to
American Masons through the friends which the struggling Colonies had among
the brethren whose names appeared on the rolls. Franklin was Venerable Master of
this Lodge, 1779-1781, as is shown by Louis Amiable in his Une Loge
Maconnique Savant 1789: La R. L. Ies Neut Soeurs (Paris, 1897). I mention this
because Bro. Buckenham gives the year as 1782, an error which Bro. Julius F.
Sachse made in his Benjamin Franklin as a Freemason. (Philadelphia, 1906), page
107, and which error is usually repeated by American writers. Amiable says:
Franklin fut elu venerable le 21 mad, 1779. [Op. cit., page 136. See also THE
BUILDER, April, 1928, page 102.]
The Amazing Benjamin Franklin merits a place on the bookselves of the busy
reader. Speakers will find it a most convenient reference volume for facts on the
many aspects of Franklin's busy life. Here the information is sorted out, and even
pre-digested, so to speak. A glance at the table of contents will indicate the proper
chapter for talks on any subject with which Franklin can be aligned consistently;
this book should help a speaker to meet any calls upon him insofar as Franklin’s
versatile career furnishes topics for presentation. J.H.T.
— o —
THE SONG OF SANO TAROT. Written by Nancy Fullwood, with an Introduction
by Claude Braydon. Published by the Macon Co. Cloth, table of contents, xviii and
MR. BRAGDON speaks of this as an amazing book. And possibly there are many
who would agree with the description while totally at variance with him in regard
to the value he sets upon it.
It is one of those works, of which such a really considerable number have been
published since the war, that owe their being to that curious psychic phenomena
generally called "automatic writing."
Now the present writer, has a perfectly open (though critical) mind on the subject
of all abnormal or supernormal phenomena. Those who ascribe all such things to
imposture and fraud seem to be even more prejudiced and illogical than those who
naively take them at their face value. If there exists anywhere a twilight zone of
knowledge it is here, and the wise man will neither deny hastily nor readily
believe. The wise being unfortunately very few, it happens that most people jump
to conclusions and then close their eyes and ears to all evidence that counters their
To the writer, such of the books of this type that he has read have been very
disappointing. Most of them claim to be a message from a higher state of existence
than ours. The mode of their communication is, however, the only credential they
bear, and in truth that is not enough. It is probable, practically certain, that all
inspired writings have come to their authors in a like manner. Hebrew prophet and
mediaeval mystic alike felt possessed of some divine communication. However, it
is not the mode of the communication but its content that is the final criterion. The
higher and truer it is the wider and deeper its appeal.
Of Mrs. Fuller's candour and belief in her book there is not the least doubt. It is
also a fact that it has been received in certain circles almost as a new gospel. The
author in her introduction says that her book "cannot be read intellectually. It must
be read with intuitive feeling," and adds that then "its effect is quite magical." In
other words, those in the same psychical or psychological conditions as the author
will feel the same effect. It may be magical - or the same kind of thing. And magic
is not always a healthy thing to indulge in. The present writer, however, is simply
unable to "tune in," and must let Mrs. Fuller's statement stand for whatever it may
Mr. Bragdon thinks that the book has a real message to this present day, nervous,
half hysterical, civilization of ours. He thinks that we are obsessed by "sex" (in
which it is not unique) and he thinks that this is partly due to the emancipation of
women, with a kind of reversal of roles between men and women, or something at
least in the nature of a shift in "polarity" between them. From the historical
standpoint one can hardly agree. There is no more interest in sex now than there
ever was. It may be that a culminating civilization is likely to exhibit sexual
abnormalities, but even in this we are not exceptional. It has happened before -
only not with generations of Puritan repressions preceding it. So today abnormality
shows itself more in books - in ancient Rome to take one example - it appeared,
without "inhibitions," in action.
If Sano Tarot will help anybody's sex complexes (and lest anyone buy the book
under false pretenses it must be added that in it sex is very innocent and highly
sublimated) it is all to the good. But it does not seem at all likely that it is a
message for the ages. C. B.
* * *
READING WITH A PURPOSE: SALESMANSHIP. By John Alford Stevenson,
paper, 28 pages, THE ROMANCE OF MODERN EXPLORATION. By Fitzhugh
Green. Paper, 37 pages. Published by the American Library Association.
THESE are the two fastest publications of the Library Association. Their
respective subjects show the extremely wide scope of the project Each pamphlet
consists of a brief survey, by an acknowledged expert, of the particular subject,
treated with a carefully selected list of books dealing with it - books which will be
found in almost every public library. It is largely for the purpose of increasing the
usefulness of public libraries that these guides are being prepared and published.
* * *
We have been requested to insert the following note on the forthcoming book by
R.W.Bro.Sir Alfred Robbins, P.G.W., on English Speaking Masonry, in order to
obviate any possible misunderstanding as to its status and character.
The author will make it clear in his introductory remarks that he does not claim
official authorization for what is the fruit of long and close acquaintance with
Masonic problems, as well as considerable study of Masonic literature The
statement will be made that the volume, while the work of one who for sixteen
years has been a voluntary Executive Officer of the United Grand Lodge of
England, does not claim authority from that body, the author taking full
responsibility for every statement, deduction and opinion. It will try to set before
all interested in Freemasonry, whether from inside or out, the inner meaning and
outer expression of a world-spread fraternity. Nothing is revealed a Mason should
preserve; what is told all may know. It is in the belief that, by the very spread of
knowledge of Masonic ideals and their realization, he will promote the cause of
peace on earth, good will towards men, that the author puts forth this work.
* * *
HISTORICAL ANALYSIS OF THE HOLY ROYAL ARCH
I have read, quite naturally, Bro F. deP Castells "Reply" to my review Of his latest
book, the Historical Analysis of the Holy Royal Arch Ritual with very much
interest. With all due deference, however, I still find myself quite unable to agree
with him about the propriety of the word "authentic" to designate either historical
Masonic research, or those Masonic scholars who confine themselves to the limits
imposed by the strict methods of purely historical investigation. I submit that the
word "authentic" in such a connection is absolutely meaningless. No one of the
scholars (so far as I have yet heard) who would be so classed by those who use the
epithet has ever employed the term either of himself or of others, nor can I imagine
any sincere historical student ever venturing to describe his work, or his school, as
"authentic." Authenticity is a quality adjudged to documents and records, not to
interpretations based upon them.
The brother who, a few years ago, proposed this designation, probably had some
confused idea in his mind of the fact that the historian's first task is to criticize the
value, the accuracy and authenticity of his sources. But to apply such a term to a
school would be intolerable arrogance on the part of those who belonged to it, or
ironically derisive on the part of those who did not. The designation is therefore
senseless and useless, and the sooner those who are beginning to employ it forget it
the better it will be for all concerned. Meaningless terms breed and perpetuate
confusion of thought, and there is no greater obstacle to the search for truth than
confusion of thought. But if those who employ it are too much in love with it to
drop it, at least let them in common justice so use it as to make it quite clear that it
is their own term, and that those whom they thus stigmatize have never used it of
themselves. Hitherto, so far from doing this these brethren have generally
employed the word in such a way as to give the impression that the title was self-
chosen by those designated by it. Bro. Castells himself has done this in the second
paragraph of his reply, though I am sure it was without any intention of being
unfair. He has merely followed others unthinkingly. Speech being free, it is of
course within any Mason's right to describe any group as the "Authentic school,"
either in derision or in unwise admiration. But this gives him no right to go on to
imply that such group has so named itself, for this is more than a suggestio falsi, it
is a downright untruth.
Coming to the points more definitely connected with Bro. Castells' work, I will
venture to deny having found fault with him "for referring to the practice of one
hundred and fifty years ago." What I desired more information about was his
source or authority in regard to the American Royal Arch ritual of one hundred and
fifty years ago. I have myself examined MS. Royal Arch rituals probably of the
eighteenth century, and probably representing the Royal Arch working of one
hundred and fifty years back, but they were all English, not American. It may be
that I was not sufficiently explicit when I said that; “In actual fact there seem to be
no known Royal Arch rituals extant either than the beginning of the nineteenth
century." I apologize. I supposed it would be clear in the context that I referred
only to America. I would amend the statement now as follows So far as I am
aware, there are no extant American Royal Arch rituals earlier than 1820.
This is the question at issue between us. I found Bro. Castells very obscure in the
references to his sources, and the additional information in his reply does not seem
to elucidate the matter very much. I pointed out that in his book he discussed the
content of the American Royal Arch ritual of a hundred and fifty years ago, but
that the only American Royal Arch ritual he definitely referred to was one
"produced in Wisconsin" in 1892. Of course I assumed as obvious that this could
not be his authority for the earlier forms. He now tells us a little more. What he had
before him was an "English reprint, without date." This he has judged "from the
internal evidence to belong to the close of the xviiith century." But surely he
cannot expect us to accept his ipse dixit on such a crucial point. Without in the
least impugning his judgment I submit that his readers have a right to demand the
identity of this reprint, and the reasons for judging its original to be of the
In a later paragraph of his reply he seems to be speaking of the same work, where
he says "it is not the same as that of Elder Bernard in Light on Masonry published
in 1829, because it contains an addendum of three years earlier." Again I would
submit that in a reprint, an addendum of three, or thirty, or three hundred years
earlier does not conclusively give a limiting date to the main work. The obvious
way to determine the question would be to compare it with Light on Masonry.
I fear that Bro. Castells has entirely misunderstood me in what I said in reference
to Bernard (and his co-exposers) and Thomas Smith Webb; at least he has quoted
me in a very confused way. 1 based no positive argument at all on "open to
question" (which phrase referred to Bernard's work) or "seems very probable." One
may legitimately base a negative conclusion on uncertainties. But I did not even do
that, I was seeking - as I still seek - the identity of Bro. Castells' source of
information. All that he says of it makes it seem to be merely a version of the ritual
that the "exposers" of the time of the Morgan episode claimed to have "exposed."
And my argument was that any such version could not very well have represented
the American ritual of the previous century, because Webb's revision had by that
time been generally accepted in the U.S.A. In the limits of a review it is impossible
to go into the evidence for this last statement, and still less is it possible here. But it
is very generally accepted in America that Webb radically revised the rituals of all
the grades dealt with in his Monitor. I am myself of the opinion that he did not
alter those of the lodge to any great extent, and Bro. Castells may be right in his
inclination to believe that he did not alter that of the Royal Arch. But the burden of
proof in each case lies on us who question the received opinion. In any case this
was all subsidiary to my main question, which concerns the identity of Bro.
Castells' source of information, and the reasons for adjudging it to represent an
original of a hundred and fifty years ago.
In regard to the "Sections" Bro. Castells again seems to have misunderstood what I
said. I did not say that Carlile was the only authority for these catechisms, for I
have personally examined older ones. What I said was that the only authority Bro.
Castells himself offered was Carlile. This may be an error on my part, and if so I
will gladly acknowledge it if it be pointed out. My own opinion is, that in all
degrees, from the E. A. through all the high and higher grades, the catechism was
in each case the first and oldest definite crystallized formula.
The question of the original number of keystones is one upon which we may well
differ. My own opinion, at present, is that the three vaults version is the oldest, but
I refuse to state it dogmatically for I am not sure, though the balance of the
evidence seems to me to point to this. The only way to satisfy Bro. Castells'
demand for my reasons for thinking so would be to present the evidence in an
article, which I hope at some future time to be able to do. If further investigation
should prove this provisional conclusion to be wrong, I shall be only too glad to
— o —
THE QUESTION BOX
THE OHIO ARMY LODGE
The following letter was received by Bro. Charles F. Irwin which, as it contains
some interesting details in regard to Ohio Masonic activities during the late War,
seems worthy of being put on permanent record here, as an addendum to the article
in the September number:
Dear Brother Irwin:
Your letter Of August 27th addressed to Bro. Harry Johnson, Grand Secretary, has
been referred to me by him.
I trust that you have been able to cancel the report of my death, because as Mark
Twain said upon a similar incorrect report of his death, "the report is greatly
exaggerated." Probably you had been informed of the death of my brother, Charles
W. Hendley, who died six years ago.
I regret that I am not able to give you any information of any value in reference to
the proposed Military Lodge which was to be formed in connection with the 37th
Division of the Army, which was composed of the Ohio National Guard units.
The preliminary meeting at which the application for Charter was agreed upon,
was called during my absence in attendance at the Annual Assembly of the Grand
Council of Ohio, of which I was at that time Grand Master. Brother Harry B.
Huston of Columbus, Ohio, was the prime mover in the matter and secured the
signatures to the petition. I do not know his present address, and am under the
impression that he continued in Army service after the end of the war. It is possible
that Dr. Harry H. Snively of Columbus might be able to give you more definite
information as to the present address of Bro. Huston.
The preliminary meeting chose myself, General William V. McMakin and General
John R. Speaks, as the first three officers.. We consulted upon several occasions,
and endeavored twice to assemble the charter applicants for further organization,
but upon each occasion were compelled to postpone the meeting for the reason that
the dates conflicted with military maneuvers which held us busy in camp.
Subsequently all three of us became permanently separated from the Division. I
was transferred for duty to the Base Hospital, and Generals McMakin and Speaks
were discharged from the service.
I felt at the beginning that a mistake was made in choosing us for the officers of the
proposed lodge, and that men of lesser military rank should have been selected. We
did upon one occasion assemble a sufficient number of Ohio brethren so that we
were able to confer the Master Mason Degree within Jackson Lodge at
Montgomery, Ala., in accordance with Ohio ritual and procedure. Our military
work at Camp Sheridan, Montgomery, Ala., was very strenuous and we three
officers were very busy men.
The Division sailed for France in May, 1918, and neither of the proposed officers
were permitted to accompany it. As a consequence the Charter or Dispensation
could not be utilized. It provided only for work outside the borders of the United
States. Frank W. Hendley.
* * *
One of the purposes of your leading articles or editorials, is to obtain the opinion
Or the membership; therefore I want to set forth my views on this matter of
Masonic Charity, after reading the article of E. E. T. in the November number.
The meaning given to the word Charity by your correspondent is evidently that of
"giving alms" - the spirit of benevolence. Of course, all men should exercise the
virtue of benevolence to a certain extent, giving according to their ability after the
ordinary wants of their family ties are attended to. Just what each man should give
must rest with the individual; no one is qualified to set the sum or judge whether a
man has given what he should, except the man himself. He may be well dressed,
have all the outward signs of prosperity, yet only that man knows the calls on him
for financial assistance, sick relatives, aged parents, doctors' bills, education of
children, and so forth. It is in such eases that we should exercise the true Masonic
Charity - charity of thought, leniency in condemning, slow to pass judgment; in
fact we have no right to judge at all and should refrain from doing so. If Bill Smith
does not "come across" for your pet charity do not assume that he is "tight or
hard," but say - Well I guess Bill has a lot of calls on him and if he could see his
way to give a bit he would do so - and in nine cases out of ten Bill would and does
do so. Again, he may have views about charity which you do not have and he is
entitled to those opinions.
If all the homes, hospitals, institutions and funds which your correspondent
advocates were in action for the benefit of Masons, it would be a fine world and to
the glory of Masonry, but if Masons confined their benevolence to the support of
those institutions and to the exclusion of all others, the glory would have departed
and we would stand condemned before the whole world as the most selfish and
bigoted association. Men would want to join for the same reason that they join a
sick or benefit society. I would want them to join for the same reason that they do
now, that is for the good opinion they have formed of the individual membership.
There are those that join for other reasons; we have heard the phrase, "If anything
happens to me the Masons will take care of the wife;" maybe they will, but is it
incumbent on them to do so? No, not in all cases.
I am dead against the Tuberculosis Hospital for Masons myself, unless we insist
upon a medical examination of all applicants to membership in the Craft to show
that they have not the germs of the disease at the time of their admission. A man
has got to join the Order for other reasons than to get supported in his sickness.
As to the different methods of obtaining funds for the support of Masonic
Benevolent Institutions - the English method and the American method - 1 was also
made a Mason in England, and the first year of my membership I subscribed and
paid to the Boys' School a sum which was large for my pocket. We formed a club
in my lodge and paid our subscriptions by installments. I derived a lot of
satisfaction out Of it, it made me feel that I had met the call upon me. But I could
not go on doing that every year; I never did it again, I could not afford to. That was
36 years ago. In course of time I came to the United States and affiliated with the
lodge in my home town (I have so affiliated five times) and commenced to pay an
annual assessment for support of Masonic Homes for Aged Masons, and of course,
have done so ever since. Now this assessment is just as voluntary as that which I
gave in England for my representative in Grand Lodge, acting for me, agreed that
such assessment should be made in order that such institution would be sure of
being maintained so long as the Masonic Order existed in the State. And it has this
great advantage over that in force in England; it demonstrates that every man can
provide for the needy brethren of the Order, even though he have but ordinary
means and by the exercise of collective action. The inmates of those homes are not
dependent on the charity ( atrocious word in this connection) of their brethren in a
better financial condition, or are under an obligation to them; they are but receiving
their reward for having subscribed money with benevolent impulse when they had
not the slightest idea that they themselves would be the beneficiaries of such fund.
They are not the objects of charity; they can maintain their self-respect.
Finally I want to say this - cease to criticise or laud the English and their ways; the
solution of their problems is their affair entirely, and not yours; what you may see
fit to do is your own affair, and yours alone; solve your problems according to your
own lights, to the best of your ability, and be assured that it will be the best way.
Ernest E. Murray, Montana
* * *
THE LESSER LIGHTS
Some time ago there was a query in the Correspondence of THE BUILDER on the
subject of the Lesser Lights (April, 1928, page 128), and the answer given seems to
me to reflect a contradictory usage that is found rather widely spread. First, what
are the Lesser Lights? The information is specific enough on that point; how is it
then that one finds so much confusion of the lights placed in those symbolic
positions (over the chairs of the officers concerned) with the lights usually placed
by the altar to illumine the V.S.L. I have been in only one Temple where this
distinction is strictly observed, and that is used by the lodges of Brantford, Ont.,
where there are no lights at the altar. There is one over the V.S.L. in a funnel-
shaped tube, and just before light is given all lights are extinguished, and this one
alone lit, so that the E. A. sees nothing else at all but what is spread before him.
Later, as the Lesser Lights are described to him, each one is lighted, but I don't
remember whether it is left so or not.
It seems to me that the Lesser Lights are displayed in all degrees in all jurisdictions
simply because the officers whom they represent are present, regardless of whether
the symbolic lights are lit or not. It is the officers who make the lights, whose job it
is to so serve the brethren; not the candles or other sources of illumination. The
feet that eleven positions are in use in various jurisdictions for the placing of these
artificial lights around the altar is only evidence of the extremes to which unwise
symbologists will go. Those famous old French prints of an early 18th century
lodge at work, and the practice of the British lodges in placing the altar close to the
W. M's pedestal, is, I think, additional evidence that these artificial lights serve
only for illumination, and, when portable, used to be placed or held wherever they
would best serve the needs of the moment.
N. W. J. H., Canada.
In the passage referred to the difference in usage between British Masonry and that
of America was pointed out Recently Bro. C. C. Hunt raised the question whether
the three lesser lights did represent the three chief officers of the lodge, as is so
frequently taken for granted. Our own suggestion is that these lights do not
represent the three officers, at least as a group, but are very closely associated with
them. And in our opinion the divergence of usage arose when the old "Diagram of
the Lodge" ceased to be used. Before that the officers and members had stood
around this diagram during the progress of the work. The lesser lights were so
arranged that one Or them stood by each of the three officers. When the diagram
went out of fashion and the officers and members found permanent places and
stations round the walls of the lodge room there was a question at once whether the
three burning tapers should remain in their old position in the middle of the floor or
should follow the officers to their new positions. It could be argued either way, and
which way would be chosen would depend on the point of view. In England the
tapers followed the officers.. In America the introduction of the altar in the middle
of the lodge room made it seem more appropriate that the lesser lights should be
left in their old position, only brought in somewhat closer to group them about the
* * *
ROMAN CATHOLIC DOCTRINE OF THE STATE
Mr. Charles C. Marshall, the well-known authority on Canon Law, and the legal
aspects of the relationship between church and state, has sent us the following
letter which is addressed to a Chicago Romanist monthly, the Extension Magazine,
in reply to an editorial attack therein upon himself which appeared in a recent
issue. Editor of Extension Magazine:
Sir - You address me in the editorial of your October issue, charging me with
convictions I do not hold, and with statements I have never made. You offer not a
scintilla of proof. Your Catholics "to vote and to hold office is open to question." I
assume that under these circumstances you will give space in your columns to this,
my reply, and that the N. C. W. C. will give it that circulation which it gave to your
You state that I have maintained that the right of Roman Catholics “to vote and to
hold office is open to question.” I have maintained just the contrary. I have so
stated in my books, Governor Smith's American Catholicism, pp. 6 and 7, and The
Roman Catholic Church in the Modem State, pp. 118 and 214. 1 have pointed out
that It is obvious that the right of Roman Catholics to vote and hold office in this
country is as effectually guaranteed by the present Federal Constitution as the right
of life itself.
As there is no doubt about the existence of this guarantee or about my recognition
Of it, your challenge to me to bring legal proceedings to test the rights of Roman
Catholics is plainly without reason.
What I have said is that a Roman Catholic party under the leadership of the Pope,
if it had sufficient numbers, would do in this country just what the Roman Catholic
party and the Pope have done in Italy, i. e., change the Constitution, make the
Roman Catholic religion the State religion, and Roman Catholic doctrine the
foundation and crown of public education. It would do this necessarily in
compliance with Roman Catholic doctrine. That doctrine has been recently
declared and set forth by Pope Pius XI in his letter to Cardinal Gasparri. The Pope
repudiates freedom of conscience, subordinating the conscience of men to the
Roman Catholic Church. "In questions of conscience," he says, "the Church, and
she alone, by reason of her divine mandate is competent." Again he says, "In a
Catholic State liberty of conscience and discussion must be interpreted and
practiced according to Catholic doctrine and law." Lastly, he declares: "The full
and perfect mandate for education belongs not to the State, but to the Church."
The Roman Catholic religion requires obedience to the Pope in his Divine Right,
under the penalty of damnation, in matters belonging to morals (see the Decree,
Pastor Aeternus of the Vatican Council of 1870.) The present Pope has expressly
reaffirmed this, in words of tremendous emphasis, in his Encyclical, Mortalium
Animos. Freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and education are all matters
belonging to morals and in those obedience to the Pope is integral in Roman
It is, therefore, clear, I submit, that the guarantees of our Federal Constitution
against a State religion, and in favor of liberty of conscience, freedom of speech,
and a public school system free from religious domination are obnoxious to the
doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and in plain conflict with the demands of
Pope Pius XI in his letter to Cardinal Gasparri. If they are not, let Roman Catholics
show why they are not. Denunciation is not demonstration.
As an American citizen I have criticized, and I shall continue to criticize the
political claims which Pope Pius XI, as above shown, declares part of Roman
Catholic doctrine and practice.
You suggest that I petition the courts and legislature to deprive Roman Catholics of
the rights which the Federal constitution guarantees them. I shall do nothing so
foolish. You suggest that I attack the Home for Cancer Relief, established by Sister
Rose Alphonsa Lathrop. I shall do nothing so wicked. I have never attacked the
worship of God according to the forms of the Roman Catholic religion. I have
never attacked Roman Catholic works of mercy. The Home for Cancer Relief I
have specially cherished as the valued letter to me from the saintly hand of Mother
Rose Alphonsa will testify.
If you desire such action as you suggest, you must apply to those who can find a
congenial standard of controversy in the editorial which you and the National
Catholic Welfare Conference have so widely disseminated. I am not one of them.
Charles C. Marshall.
* * *
THE MASONC RELIEF ASSOCIATION
This is to call your attention to errors in name and address of one of the officers of
the Masonic Relief Association of U. S. and Canada in your November issue, page
343. Reference to this letterhead will set you right about the president, Stewart
How you ever got my name as "JOHN" I do not know, for it has ALWAYS been
James D. Henderson, Tennessee.
We are glad of this opportunity to correct the error in regard to Bro. Henderson’s
name. The notice was taken from the Missouri Freemason.